Skip to comments.China develops its first solid-fuel satellite rocket
Posted on 09/25/2003 1:33:13 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
BEIJING (AFP) - China has successfully test-fired its first four-stage solid-fuel rocket capable of putting small satellites into space on short notice, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
The launch of the Pioneer I rocket on September 16 at north China's Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center makes China only the third country capable of developing such rockets, after the United States and Russia, a spokesman for China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC) told Xinhua.
The rocket is capable of putting payloads of up to 100 kilograms (220 pounds) into orbit around the earth to help with resource exploration, environmental monitoring and surveys, the spokesman said.
The announcement comes just weeks ahead of China's planned manned space mission, which is widely expected to take place next month, based on media reports.
The Xinhua report did not say whether the rocket had any connection to the launching of space flights or whether it could launch satellites for military use.
The People's Daily website said the rocket would be convenient for short-term, short notice use, such as to launch satellites to monitor sudden natural disasters or to broadcast sports events.
"Compared with powerful launch vehicles that use liquid fuel, the solid-fuel launch vehicle, popularly known as Pioneer I, requires much less preparation time to launch, and is much easier to operate," the spokesman said.
It takes 12 hours or less to prepare for the launch of a satellite using the Pioneer I rocket, whereas about three months are needed to prepare the traditional liquid-fuel launch vehicle, including the time for shipping, installation and testing, and filling it with liquid fuel.
The Pioneer I also can be launched from a mobile pad, the spokesman said.
Regardless of whether launch vehicles are used for commercial or military purposes, experts said China's capability in producing launch vehicles was posing competition for other space powers, such as the United States.
"On the commercial side, Chinese space launching capability presents a very competitive alternative to Americans and Europeans," said Robert Karniol, Bangkok-based Asia-Pacific editor for Jane's Defense Weekly.
"The Chinese have been launching foreign satellites for some time, and have launched about 20 to date."
Other countries are also alarmed by the potential military challenges China's space and satellite capabilities can pose for them, Karniol said.
"The Chinese military, like many militaries in other countries, have communication satellites, reconnaissance satellites, and have been developing navigation and global positioning satellites," Karniol said.
"Communication satellites significantly improve the command and control of the armed forces. Reconnaissance satellites provide imagery for military action to follow and global positioning satellites, among other things, significantly improve the guidance systems of missiles."
Karniol was unaware of the specific capabilities of the latest rocket.
Officials at the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC) could not be reached for comment.
ARMED SERVICES.house.gov: "Testimony of Gary Milhollin Professor, University of Wisconsin Law School and | Director, Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control Before the Committees on International Relations and National Security United States House of Representatives June 17, 1998" (TESTIMONY SNIPPET: "When we look at the history of U.S. sanctions policy, we see a willingness to sanction China for missile proliferation in both the Bush Administration, which applied sanctions in 1991, and in the Clinton Administration, which applied sanctions in 1993. But in 1995, the Clinton Administration policy changes. China supplied the C-802s to Iran in 1995; China supplied other missile components to Iran and Pakistan in 1995 and has continued to supply up to the present time. And in 1996, the Administration refused to act on explicit findings by the intelligence community that the transfers occurred. Also in 1996, the Administration started transferring control over satellites exports from the State to the Commerce Department, insulating them from the application of missile sanction laws in the future. For some reason, the Administration decided in either 1995 or 1996 that missile sanctions would no longer be part of U.S. policy in dealing with China. Why did U.S. policy change? I don't know the answer to that question, but I urge the Committees to look into it. We do know the result of the policy change. It gave China a green light to proliferate. Our government's policy on sanctions has enabled Chinese satellite launch companies to sell missiles and missile components to Iran and Pakistan without fear of punishment. Thus, it may be that we are asking the wrong question about how our satellite export policy affects missile proliferation. Whether or not our satellite exports caused U.S. missile technology to go to China, they have made it easier for Chinese missile technology to go to Pakistan.")
TOWNHALL.com: "CLINTON SCANDALS CONTINUE TO SURFACE" -Column by Phyllis Schlafly (COLUMN SNIPPET: "...The GAO discovered that those pilots departed because the Clinton administration ordered them to receive the anthrax vaccine, and 86 percent of those who did take the shots reported adverse side effects. Now, after scores of resignations and hundreds of careers destroyed by court-martial, we discover that our brave servicemen and women were right to resist the anthrax orders, and the government was fatally and corruptly wrong. A lawsuit filed by two Connecticut Air Force Reserve pilots asserted that the vaccine used on the military was never properly tested, and the Food and Drug Administration's recent response was to halt use of existing stocks of the vaccine...") (110502)
220 pounds into orbit, eh? My, I can think of all kinds of "non-military uses" for that.
China develops its first solid-fuel satellite rocket
(They are to rename it,........"Peacekeeper" missile series #1...?)