Andrew Jones Profile picture
Journalist tracking China's space programme. Correspondent at @SpaceNews_Inc; @SPACEdotcom @exploreplanets @IEEESpectrum |
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Jan 19, 2023 4 tweets 2 min read
China launch plans: CASC has released its 2023 "Blue book," updating it plans to 60+ launches, meaning 80+ planned all in. Only 1 Tianzhou because increased capacity, 200+ spacecraft, 20m SAR sat to GEO, and much more... also a CZ-9 update (1/4) Other noted launches/projects: Environmental Surveyor 2-05, Fengyun-3 F+G, new Haiyang sats, Zhongxing 26, "New Generation Commercial Remote Sensing Satellite System" and Gaojing sats, Hongtu-1 SAR sats, Jilin-1 EO sats, Geely autonomous driving constellation, etc... (2/4)
Aug 9, 2022 6 tweets 2 min read
China's secretive spaceplane is still in orbit following its launch on Thursday. The first mission, in Sep. 2020, lasted ~two days, so this is already a longer mission this time out. Only word from China far is a terse statement of launch. A few things to note so far: The last mission saw the (or a) apparent spaceplane in a 331 by 347 km, 50 degree orbit. This time it's a more eccentric 346 x 593 km, 50 deg. orbit, for unknown reasons.
Feb 8, 2022 5 tweets 2 min read
Yet another funding round for China's array of launch startups. Space Pioneer ( 天兵科技) has closed B round strategic funding, backed by state-owned funds. The firm is targeting a first orbital launch of the Tianlong-1 kerolox rocket sometime in 2022.… Image The Tianlong-1 is a smaller launcher, though the firm stated in 2020 the 1st flight vehicle would have a payload capacity to LEO of 3 tonnes+. Also working on the staged combustion, reusable Tianlong-2, and the Tianlong-3, benchmarked against the Falcon 9, would you believe...
Jan 26, 2022 4 tweets 2 min read
Wow. Another big funding round in Chinese launch, this time OrienSpace (东方空间) raising nearly 300m yuan ($47m). Follows the Y400m/$62m Orienspace raised in June last year. Funding goes to Gravity-1/引力一号/Yinli-1, 3-tonnes-to-LEO launcher and engines… This follows, in recent days, Galactic Energy raising $200 million, Deep Blue Aerospace securing $31.5 million on Jan. 18 & Space Trek completing a round of "tens of millions" of yuan to develop target missiles. Some more background on Orienspace plans:
Jan 25, 2022 4 tweets 2 min read
China's 5G satellite plans: China's Commsat reveals it won a 5 million yuan contract from Beijing Municipal Sci & Tech Commission for a project related to 5G satellite onboard processing as part of a new gen ICT project to break technology bottlenecks.… Beijing Municipal Sci & Tech Commission's pages also reveal that CASC-affiliated Sunwise Space Tech co and GalaxySpace (private) also won ICT bottleneck project bids for high-performance processors & Q/V/Ka band payloads respectively.…
Jan 24, 2022 4 tweets 2 min read
China’s Galactic Energy has raised $200 million for development of its Pallas-1 reusable launch vehicle, with 2 funding rounds that, combined, eclipse the previous largest Chinese launch rounds. Also Pallas-1 will be more capable than previous stated… Lots of other commercial activity in China in the last day or two. Tsignhua university, together with Space Transportation announced the test of a spray combustion rocket.
Jan 1, 2022 4 tweets 2 min read
Wow! This is yet another surprise from the Tianwen-1 mission. The orbiter had apparently released a small sub satellite while in Mars orbit, returning these outrageous images. [CNSA/CLEP/PEC]… ImageImageImage Oh, and here's a new image from Zhurong (3 stitched together)... Image
Dec 3, 2021 5 tweets 3 min read
Ah. We have an update from Yutu-2 on the lunar far side, including an image of a cubic shape on the northern horizon ~80m away from the rover in Von Kármán crater. Referred to as "神秘小屋" ("mystery house"), the next 2-3 lunar days will be spent getting closer to check it out. Image So yeah, it's not an obelisk or aliens, but certainly something to check out, and hard to discern much from the image. But large boulders (right) are sometimes excavated by impacts, as seen by the Chang'e-3 mission, which launched 8 years ago on Dec 1. [CNSA/CLEP] ImageImage
Sep 29, 2021 6 tweets 2 min read
Chinese commercial satellite company Galaxy Space signed a deal with CGWIC to launch 6 low-orbit broadband communication test satellites on a Long March 2C rocket in Q1 2022.… Meanwhile MinoSpace (微纳星空) signed a deal with CGWIC for 7 satellites on Long March 8 Y2, launching early 2022. These include a 0.5m res optical satellite, 1m res SAR sat, 4 x Hainan-1 sats and "XD-1".…
Jun 12, 2021 16 tweets 4 min read
CNSA today presented key development plans for the 14th five-year plan period (2021-25). Exploration goals:
Near-Earth asteroid sample-return mission ~2025
Chang'e-6 & Chang'e-7 to lunar south pole
After 2025: Chang'e-8, Mars sample return, Jupiter orbiter/planetary flyby Noted broad technology plans/projects to be supported: planetary and lunar exploration, human spaceflight (CSS to be completed in 2022), heavy-lift launch vehicles, reusable space transportation systems, and the national "satellite internet" constellation.
Jun 11, 2021 7 tweets 2 min read
So, Zhurong went and placed a remote camera on the ground and then went back towards the lander for this group photo in Utopia Planitia, Chinese flags lined up and all. Quite the effort. [CNSA/PEC] Cool panorama here from Zhurong, showing the fascinating horizon but also areas affected by the passivation of the landing platform (expelling remaining propellant to prevent explosion), to the north and south (also seen in the shots from Tianwen-1 & MRO from orbit).
May 10, 2021 7 tweets 3 min read
The China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT), the designer of the Long March 5B, published an explainer on types of rocket debris. Without directly mentioning the 5B, it says don't worry, things returning from orbit burn up, nothing slams into Earth like "scifi movies" It adds that China fulfills international responsibilities and carries out passivation (propellant & battery depletion to prevent debris-causing explosions). It also states measures being adopted to tackle issues of falling stages inland in China.…
Dec 17, 2020 17 tweets 3 min read
Chang'e-5 press conference happening now
A few things from the CE-5 presser: Wu Yanhua: China will be sharing samples with scientists from other countries. methods for the management to be issued. As with US, Russia, the samples to be shared with institutions including the United Nations.
Dec 16, 2020 10 tweets 3 min read
Chang'e-5 reentry capsule found! A closer look:
Nov 23, 2020 18 tweets 5 min read
Liftoff! Chang'e-5 heads to space atop the fifth Long March 5 heavy-lift rocket Booster separation
Nov 23, 2020 19 tweets 7 min read
China's complex Chang'e-5 lunar sample return mission is set to launch between 20:00-21:00 UTC (3-4 pm ET (04-05:00 am local tomorrow). It will seek to return the first lunar samples since the 1970s. Thread on the launch, spacecraft, science and more. First, launch coverage is ongoing here, in Chinese:
Alternatives and updates likely to be posted by @Nextlaunch
Nov 23, 2020 4 tweets 2 min read
Chang'e-5 coverage: possible link to possible live(ish) coverage from CCTV. Currently looks like launch will be around 20:25-21:15 UTC/3:25-4:15 p.m. ET today, but that's not official.… CCTV now broadcasting. Here's a Youtube stream version:
Oct 1, 2020 4 tweets 2 min read
Here's an image of Tianwen-1 in deep space and on its way to Mars, released today [CLEP]. The spacecraft is currently 24.1 million km from the Earth with a total flight distance of 188 million km. Source:… One more image:
Sep 18, 2020 5 tweets 2 min read
The object (2020-063G; 46395) released by China's reusable experimental spacecraft/possible spaceplane before it deorbited remains in a 331 x 347 km orbit incl. by 50.21°. Little known, but a few clues. Image It is known to be transmitting, meaning it's a satellite with some purpose. It may be that it is simply a test of the reusable experimental spacecraft to successfully release payloads in orbit.
Sep 16, 2020 4 tweets 1 min read
From a 2014 Chinese space exploration roadmap: "In the term of Venus exploration, the planed missions aim at detecting the atmosphere, ionosphere
& magnetosphere; doing researches on the composition & structure of the atmosphere, lightning
& airglow, the greenhouse effect...1/4 ...atmospheric circulation, such as the formation mechanism & the overall evolution; studying interactions of the atmosphere, the ionosphere with the solar wind, exploring the mechanism of water escape; detecting the topography, geological structure & surface compositions... 2/4
Sep 8, 2020 4 tweets 2 min read
After nearly seven years (2,460 days) on the Moon, the Chang'e-3 lander (and one payload) is—very impressively— still working [image: CNSA/CLEP].… Image Some independent verification of the lander's regular activities: