Chinese Space News (May 1998) [May 31, 1998] China Star Marks 10 th Consecutive Successful Launch of Yesterday’s China Star-1 launch was the 52 nd launch by Chinese Long March rocket and the fourth by a Long March 3 B, the country’s most powerful launch vehicle. Long March experienced 3 failures in 1995 and 1996. The successful launches in recent two years will undoubtedly strengthen Long March’s position in the competition of global launch market. The Long March 3 B placed the 2984 kg China Star-1 into an orbit of 201 x 85732 km with 24.
5 degree inclination. The Lockheed Martin built satellite has 24 C-band and 24 Ku-band transponders. It will be finally placed into the geostationary orbit at 87. 5 degrees East longitude by Lockheed Martin in next few days.
Next in line will be the Sino sat-1 built by the French group, Aerospatiale, for an official Chinese client. That launch, also by a Long March 3 B, is expected in July. [May 30, 1998] Long March 3 B Successfully Launched China Star-1 Long March 3 B successfully launched China Star-1 today, CCTV, the Chinese official television station announced today. This is the fourth launch and the third successful launch of Long March 3 B, the most powerful rocket in China. Chinastar-1 was built by Lockheed Martin and will be operated by China Oriental Telecommunications. [May 29, 1998] APT Satellite Holdings See Revenue Growth Hong Kong Satellite operator APT Satellite Holdings sees revenue growth this year despite a reduction in the satellite transponder services in Asia due to the economic slowdown.
The current leasing rate for the company’s third satellite, Apstar-IIR, was now at 25 per cent. But it was expected to increase more than 50 per cent by the end of the year, APT chairman Xie Gao-Jue said. The group planned to launch Apstar V or one big satellite to replace Apstar I and Apstar IA, which run out in 2004 and 2006 respectively. APT Satellite was also negotiating with a mainland firm to develop a direct broadcast satellite system, though no decision has been reached. The group’s current financial status was rated ‘healthy’ on a gearing ratio of 42 per cent. Direct effects of the Asian currency crisis were said to be minimal as the firm’s revenue is in US dollars.
[May 24, 1998] Asia Sat 4 Launch Put on Hold Asia Satellite Telecommunications Holdings (Asia Sat) yesterday said it was postponing the launch of Asia Sat 4 due to a decrease in demand for telecommunication services from satellite transponders. ‘We will evaluate the project at the end of this year and hoped it can be launched in the year 2000,’ ‘ chief executive officer Peter Jackson said. Asia Sat is negotiating with a third party on a joint venture in the satellite service, Mr Jackson added. He said the current economic downturn in the region would hamper the company’s growth because of a slowdown in demand for satellite transponder capacity for data communication. [May 24, 1998] China Denys Obtaining Sensitive Space Technology From US Liu Zhi xiong, vice president of the China Great Wall Industry Corp. , told a late night news conference that foreign scientists had merely reviewed results of a Chinese investigation into a 1996 satellite launch failure and did not pass on any technology.
Liu said the Chinese had worked out for themselves the cause of the launch failure. No technology changed hands, he said. ‘The foreign scientists had no obligation to give us any technological advice and they did no such thing,’ ‘ Liu said.’ Neither was there any technological exchanges,’ ‘ he said. China has also denied allegations that Chinese Lt. Col. Liu Chao ying contributed a large part of the nearly $100, 000 that Taiwanese-American fund-raiser Johnny Chung gave to the Democrats in 1996.
Liu said the allegations of missile technology transfer were ridiculous. [May 23, 1998] Clinton May Allow China to Access ISSUS President Bill Clinton will visit China and sign a space cooperation agreement with China. It reports that among the space technology exchanges and joint projects being proposed by the White House is allowing China to join the International Space Station project to get China to join the Missile Technology Control Regime (M TCR), a proliferation control protocol… But the recent development over political campaign contributions and the restrictions on selling China any space technology, passed by the House, seem to doom any renewed Clinton effort to get China into the U. S. Space Program.
China was suggesting use of the Long March rockets for logistics support of the station. (Spacer. com) [May 21, 1998] US House Voted to Ban Satellite Export to China The House of Representatives of US voted Wednesday to ban exports of satellites and missile technology to China amid allegations a US company helped improve the reliability of Chinese missiles. The House voted 412-6 against missile technology exports and 364-54 against satellite exports.
The votes came following reports the administration of President Bill Clinton overruled the US Defense and State departments by easing satellite exports to China. The decision allowed Loral Space and Communications to export its satellites to China so that they could be launched from Chinese missiles. Republicans are investigating whether the change in policy occurred in exchange for campaign contributions to the Democratic Party and if Loral helped improve the reliability of Chinese missiles. (AFP) [May 19, 1998] Scientists Meet in Beijing to Discuss Spacecraft Standards The Eighth Plenary Meeting of the ISO’s Space Technology and Application Standardization Subcommittee opened on May 14 in Beijing.
Topics for discussion at the two-day session cover unmanned spacecraft operability, flight-to-ground umbilical’s and four other draft proposals. These proposals are to make spacecraft and launch vehicles to be manufactured and operated on universally accepted standards in the future to meet the challenges of increasingly harsh competition in the sector. The newly appointed director of the China National Space Administration, Luan En jie was present at the opening ceremony. (China Daily) [May 19, 1998] China and Kazakhstan Sign Space Cooperation Agreement Kazakh Prime Minister Nur lan Utebovich Balgimbaev visited Beijing earlier this month and talked with Chinese leaders. After the talks, the two governments signed five documents, including an inter-governmental agreement on the peaceful research and utilization of outer space.
China and Kazakhstan established diplomatic ties six years ago. (China Daily) [May 18, 1998] China to Build Earthquake Early Warning Satellite System Chinese scientists are designing an earthquake early warning satellite system, including a constellation of 10 small satellites in low earth orbit. Three of ten satellites will be equipped with microwave radiometers and the rest with hot infrared scan radiometers. China has made remarkable progress in earthquake prediction by analyzing satellite infrared images and successfully predicted 41 earthquakes (of all 80 predictions) in recent years. The current difficulty in collecting under-cloud data is expected to be solved by the new satellite system. (Lian he Zao bao) (see earthquake prediction report on CAST site) [May 16, 1998] Hong Kong Newspaper Comments on Chinese Manned Program Hong Kong Standard said on May 13 that China must make big breakthroughs in its aerospace technology and industry in the coming months if it is to send its first astronauts into space to mark 50 years of communist rule next year.
There are widespread media reports on the mainland about an astronaut training-base in Beijing and a research centre in Shanghai for the construction of manned space craft. However to make this dream come true the country’s space industry needs to tackle certain difficulties first — like increasing the carrying capacity of China-made rockets. The biggest challenge remains how to guarantee first-time success. China’s record book has been blotted by several failures in satellite launches rockets. Experts say that before a real launch China will have to conduct a few test launches with animals. Whether China will conduct such testing launches before the 1 October anniversary will provide strong hints about the feasibility of a manned flight by next year.
[May 15, 1998] Sino-US Space Cooperation Agreement China National Science and Technology Committee and NASA will sign a space cooperation agreement when President Clinton visit China next month. The agreement includes cooperation on earth observation, weather monitoring, environment protection and other fields. US hopes the cooperation could end missile technology transferring from China to Pakistan and Iran. (VOA) [May 13, 1998] Rocsat-1 Status Updates Works on Rocsat-1, the first satellite built by Taiwan, has entered final stage. The satellite will be transported to United States in October for launch on board a Lockheed Martin Athena 1 launcher. The launch is now set for the end of this year or first quarter of next year.
CTN, a Hong Kong based Chinese television news network reported today. [May 12, 1998] Hughes Will Build APMT Satellites Hughes Space and Communications and Asia Pacific Mobile Telecommunications Satellite (APMT) have concluded a contract for a satellite-based mobile phone system. The turnkey system includes one satellite, one spare satellite, five gateways, one network operations center, one satellite operations center and an initial purchase of 70, 000 user terminals. Each satellite is a HS GEM that is based on HS 601 and takes advantages from larger, more powerful HS 702. APMT satellites will generate about 7 kilowatts of power. Using both L-band user links and Ku-band gateway links, APMT is capable of supporting 16, 000 voice circuits simultaneously.
The L-band antenna is 12. 25 meters in diameter. The APMT satellite will be launched on board a Long March 3 B rocket in 2000 and is designed to provide 12 years of service life from its orbital location between 95 degrees and 125 degrees East longitude. (Launch space) [May 11, 1998] China Uses Space Technology to Monitor Earthquakes China has established an earth shell movement monitoring network using GPS technology. The network includes more than 1000 monitoring stations and the data processing system. Chinese scientists also use satellite remote sensing technology to monitor the earth shell stress fields.
Space technology has found a new and a very useful way in earthquake studies. China has successfully predicted a series of earthquakes using the satellite infrared earth images in recent years. [May 7, 1998] Hearings of Satellite Technology Export to China Planned US Congress plan a series of hearings to investigate whether President Clinton’s policy on the export of commercial satellites to China has allowed the Chinese to acquire technology to improve the accuracy of their nuclear missiles. The hearings will focus on Clinton’s decisions to allow two U. S. aerospace companies, Loral Space and Communications Ltd.
and Hughes Electronic Corp. , to export satellites to be launched atop Chinese rockets. The Justice Department has been investigating a report that Loral improperly gave China advice to upgrade the guidance systems on its rockets after a failed launch in 1996 destroyed a Loral satellite. But Loral has denied any wrongdoing in connection with the case. [May 6, 1998] Singapore Telecom Pull Out of APMTSingapore Telecommunications Ltd. (Sing Tel) announced Tuesday that it was pulling out of a proposed 640-million-US-dollar satellite project for mobile services with local and Chinese partners.
A company statement said the Asia Pacific Mobile Telecommunications (APMT) project no longer meets Sing Tel’s business requirements, given its already extensive investments in both satellite and submarine cable networks. [May 5, 1998] FY-2 A Lost Earth Lock Since April 10 China’s first GEO meteorological satellite FY-2 A’s S-band antenna lost earth lock on April 8 then recovered for about 12 hours on April 10 before losing lock again. Nothing has been received since. FY-2 A was launched on June 10, 1997 and put into service at the end of 1997. [May 2, 1998] Two More Iridium’s Launched Successfully by Long March Chinese Long March 2 C/SD rocket launched a pair of Iridium communications satellites into low-Earth orbit today. The booster lifted off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in China at 5: 16 a.
m. EDT (0916 GMT). Satellite separation occurred approximately 50 minutes after liftoff. The two satellites will be maneuvered into their respective positions to become part of the operational constellation… The launch was delayed for two days due to poor weather conditions.
[May 2, 1998] China Made Progress in Rocket Engine Development China has made remarkable progress in research and experiments on ground testing of carrier rockets, according to the Chinese Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology. The experiments incudes simulated ground and high-altitude tests on rocket motors adopting conventional or low-temperature fuel, high-altitude ignition of attitude control engines and orbit-shifting engines, as well as integration tests with the rocket and satellite. A series of advanced experimental equipment and facilities to produce, store and transport low-temperature rocket propellants has been installed at the Beijing Research Institute of Experimental Technology under the academy. (Xinhua).