Late last week, China set its sights on the skies, launching an experimental communications technology satellite.
The mission kicked off from the coastal Wenchang Satellite Launch Center with a blast-off of a Long March 7A rocket at 10:54 a.m. EDT (1454 GMT, or 10:54 p.m. Beijing Time) on Friday (Nov. 3).
Termed Tongxin Jishu Shiyan Weixing-10 (TJS-10) by the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the payload was unveiled promptly, just an hour post-launch.
According to the Chinese state media outlet Xinhua, the satellite is primarily purposed for conducting multi-band and high-speed communication technology experiments.
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Presently situated in a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO), the satellite is destined to maneuver itself into the geostationary belt, a region around 22,236 miles (35,786 kilometers) above Earth, in the coming days.
Details on the satellite remain limited, with no further information provided by CASC or state media.
This dearth of data regarding TJS satellites has piqued the interest of analysts, prompting speculation that TJS-10 might serve a broader array of purposes under a cover name.
While TJS-3, designated as a communication test satellite, took off in December 2018, it appears to have engaged in close encounters with satellites owned by other nations.
This pattern fuels conjecture that other satellites within the TJS series might be utilized for activities such as signals intelligence and missile early warning tests.
Developed by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST), a key subsidiary of CASC, the satellite follows the lineage of earlier TJS satellites.
The Long March 7A rocket, standing at 197 feet (60 meters) in height, represents a variant of the Long March 7, tailor-made for transporting spacecraft to GTO. Notably, it offers a non-toxic alternative to the Long March 3B, a pivotal workhorse in China’s space endeavors.
The broader context of China’s space missions is evident in the pace of their launches. This recent mission marks China’s 51st launch this year, aligning with the country’s plans disclosed earlier in the year.
China’s ambitious agenda outlines intentions to launch over 200 spacecraft across approximately 70 missions slated for 2023.
The exploration of space and satellite technology continues to be a pivotal domain for China, showcasing their dedication to advancing communication technology and exploring the cosmic frontiers.
Satellite Speculations and Advancements
The recent launch of the China satellite, named Tongxin Jishu Shiyan Weixing-10 (TJS-10), marked a significant move in the country’s pursuit of space technology.
This experimental communications satellite, propelled by the Long March 7A rocket, emerged from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center.
According to official sources from the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the satellite, while described as intended for multi-band and high-speed communication technology experiments, remains a subject of intrigue due to the scarcity of details offered about its specific functionalities.
The satellite currently resides in a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) and is projected to shift itself into the geostationary belt, an orbital region approximately 22,236 miles (35,786 kilometers) above Earth.
Analysts, however, remain in the dark about the precise nature and uses of the TJS series of satellites.
TJS-3, which launched in December 2018 as a communication test satellite, has raised eyebrows by its activities, including close approaches to other countries’ satellites, leading to speculation that these satellites serve a range of undisclosed functions.
The lineage of TJS satellites, including TJS-10, originates from the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST), a significant player in the development of such space-based technology under the umbrella of CASC.
The utilization of the Long March 7A rocket underscores China’s technological prowess in adapting rocket variants for specific purposes, in this case, ferrying spacecraft to GTO.
The launch is a part of China’s robust space launch agenda, marking its 51st mission of the year, a prelude to the projected launch of over 200 spacecraft across 70 missions in the upcoming year. This reaffirms China’s commitment to achieving greater milestones in space exploration and technology.
The recent launch of the Tongxin Jishu Shiyan Weixing-10 (TJS-10) satellite by China via the Long March 7A rocket heralds another milestone in the nation’s pursuit of space technology.
While initially termed for communication technology experiments, the satellite’s actual functionalities and purposes remain veiled in secrecy. Nonetheless, its journey to the geostationary belt orbits Earth, signifying a leap in China’s space prowess.
As China aims for an ambitious lineup of over 200 spacecraft across 70 missions in 2023, the space domain continues to be an arena where innovation and secrecy intermingle, furthering the quest for advancements in communication technology and beyond.