22 December 2020
China's new medium-lift carrier rocket CZ-8 took off from Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Centre on 22 December at 12:37 BJT. After about 15 minutes, the rocket reached a sun-synchronous orbit with an altitude of 512 km, and then deployed the New Technology Demonstrator 7 experimental satellite and 4 small private satellites. The CZ-8 is capable of transporting various spacecraft to multiple types of orbits ranging from LEO to transfer trajectories to deep-space destinations.
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Big plans for the CZ-8
With the introduction of the CZ-8, the goal is to launch rockets as simply and quickly as possible - meet the demand for economic and frequent medium-size launches. The short preparation time, high launch frequency and planned future reusability would help reduce costs and create a competitive commercial launching service. “Our goal is to launch the rocket as quickly as possible, even a one-click launch … We plan to put the assembly and production together in Hainan or some other place to omit the test, recheck and transport steps,” Commander-in-chief Xiao Yun was quoted by SCMP. “In the future, we want to simplify the procedure to improve efficiency so that a rocket launch mission can be completed by about 40 people in seven to 10 days.” The CZ-8R variant is expected to be reusable with the first stage landing on a floating platform.