China Carries Out Its First Satellite Launch from a Platform on the Sea
June 5 (EIRNS)—China carried out its first launch of a rocket from a mobile launch platform in the Yellow Sea today. A Russia-led consortium, called Sea Launch, is the only other entity to launch commercial satellites from sea-based platforms. The Long March 11 solid propellant rocket carried two commercial satellites and two technology-development experiments into orbit.
There are a number of advantages to launching from the sea. The launch can take place closer to the Equator than the land-based launch sites that China has. Because the Earth rotates faster at its middle than at the poles, at the Equator a rocket gets a boost, gaining payload capability with the use of less energy.
Water launch introduces flexibility, by not having to be limited in time or direction of launch, since you don’t have to be concerned about dropping spent rocket stages on villagers. (Before making a land-based launch, the Chinese currently evacuate villages that are along the rocket’s flight path.)
As Xinhua explains, China expects an increase in demand for launch services. According to experts, this new, added launch capability will “help China provide launch services for countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative.”