04 March 2021
Leonard David sums it nicely up in his recent article on his INSIDE OUTER SPACE blog: "China appears to be on the verge of a one-two punch in both the country’s human space flight program as well as its robotic planetary exploration plans. Before the end of June, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) notes it anticipates the lofting of the 20-metric-ton core space station module, Tianhe, or Harmony of Heaven. Also, China is targeting an attempted landing on Mars in May-June with the Tianwen-1’s lander/rover - the country’s first independent mission to the Red Planet."
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04 March 2021
CNSA published high-resolution images of Mars captured by the Tianwen 1 planetary probe. These images include 2 panchromatic images and 1 color image. The panchromatic images were taken by the high-resolution camera at a distance of 330 to 350 km above the surface of Mars, with a resolution of about 0.7 m per pixel. Martian landforms such as small craters, mountain ridges and dunes are clearly visible. It is estimated that the diameter of the largest impact crater in the images is around 620 meters. The color image is of the Red Planet's North Pole region taken by the medium-resolution camera.
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04 March 2021
Jiang Jie, an senior rocket expert at the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology and a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said on 3 March that research and development of the reusable variant of the Long March 8 rocket was proceeding well and designers plan to conduct the first test to verify key vertical landing technologies before the end of this year. "The new model will feature highly integrated equipment, autonomous technologies and convenient pre-launch preparations," Jiang stressed.
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03 March 2021
The 4-stage solid-propellant rocket Smart Dragon-3 (SD-3, Jielong 3) is planned to take-off for its 1st flight next year. the SD-3 will have with 1.5 t to a 500 km SSO the largest and the highest carrying capacity among the Dragon series, according to the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology. CALT is developing the rocket for its commercial subsidiary China Rocket. To meet the large-scale commercial launch demands, the rocket's multi-satellite launch capability enables it to carry more than 20 satellites in a single mission, while the cost is just 10,000 USD/kg. CALT said the SD-3 was designed for both land and sea launches.
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03 March 2021
On 28 February, a 520-second hot fire test of the CZ-5 rocket engine prepares for the upcoming mission of launching the core module of the Chinese Space Station. The engine ran 20 seconds longer than its designed work cycle, showing that the engine is capable of an extended service life, said CASC. It is the 5th long-range test the rocket engine has undergone, bringing its cumulative test run time to 2,520 seconds. CASC said it would conduct 3 more 500-second tests to further improve the engine's reliability.
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02 March 2021
The Shanghai Planetarium, a branch of the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, is scheduled to begin trial operations in June. Located in the Pudong New Area, the planetarium will have floor area of over 38,000 m2 with an exhibition area of 12,500 m2. The overall location will include a main building and ancillary facilities such as an exploration center for youth and two observatories for the public. The exhibition will showcase 70 meteorites from the Moon, Mars and Vesta, as well as over 120 collections of artifacts, including original works from Isaac Newton, Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler and other masters.
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