Thursday, September 14, 2006

China Launches Military Satellite

China has launched a military photographic recon satellite, Shi Jian 8, on September 9, 2006 at 0700 UTC.

International Designator: 2006-035A
SSC Number: 29385
Launcher: Long March 2C
Launch Site: Jiuquan/Shuang Cheng Tzu
Orbit: 445 x 177 km, 63 degree inclination

According to Jonathan McDowell, Jonathan's Space Report, "SJ-8, unlike earlier SJsatellites, is a recoverable satellite derived from earlier FSWreconnaissance and microgravity satellites. It will study the exposureof seeds to microgravity and radiation. The Xinhua news agency reportsthat the launch vehicle was a CZ-2C. Both CZ-2C and uprated CZ-2Drockets are used for the recoverable satellites. Based on orbital data, I estimate that the launch time was 0700 UTC."

At present we have no downlink frequency information on this satellite.

According to press reports, he last Shi Jian satellite, number 7 was launched 5 July 2005 by a Long March 2D into a 565 x 543 km orbit, inclined 97.6 degrees. That was a scientific mission that is scheduled for a three year mission.

The complete launch history of the Shi Jian series follows.

SJ-1 / PRC-2 / China-2 1971-03-03
SJ-2A / PRC-11 / China-11 1981-09-19
SJ-2B / PRC-9 / China-9 1981-09-19
SJ-2C / PRC-10 / China-10 1981-09-19
SJ-4 / Practice-4 1994-02-08
SJ-6A 2004-09-08
SJ-6B 2004-09-08
SJ-7 2005-07-05
SJ-8 2006-09-09