China opens its first solar observatory and puts grid fins to the test

China successfully launched Chinese H-alpha Solar Explorer as well as ten other satellites into orbit, marking the 37th orbital deployment of the year. On October 14, a Long March 2D took off from Taiyuan, northern part of China, at exactly 6:51 a.m. Eastern. The rocket employed a new configuration that allowed it to launch more than ten satellites for the very first time, and the first stage had grid fins to confine the projected drop zone of a stage downrange, which had previously been tested on past Long March rockets.

The Chinese H-alpha Solar Explorer, China’s first solar observatory, was launched into a 517-kilometer-altitude Sun-synchronous orbit. According to Xinhua, the aircraft also carried an orbital atmospheric density monitoring experimental satellite (MD-1) as well as a commercial meteorological monitoring constellation experimental satellite (QX-1). The duo was developed by the Shenzhen Aerospace Dongfanghong Satellite Company, Ltd, a minor satellite developer eventually owned by CASC (China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation).

QX-1, MD-1, Tianshu-1, Golden Bauhinia N2 satellite created by the Hong Kong Aerospace Technology Group Limited as well as Commsat for one constellation to cover the Guangdong- MOTS, and Tianyuan-1, Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, as well as Head-2 F and Head-2 E for HEAD Aerospace Group, are among the satellites on the flight, according to the CGWIC (China Great Wall Industry Corporation), which is a division of CASC.

MOTS relates to a VDES (VHF Data Exchange System) experiment spaceship created by Shanghai Lizheng Satellite and is anticipated to lay the backbone for the Chinese maritime communication constellation. The Tianshu-1 is among the test satellite that are meant for the Insight Position Digital Intelligence Technology Service Company limited, Ltd. For the low Earth orbit (LEO) navigation enhancement. The SSS-2A Cube Satellite and SSS-1 Micro Satellite were designed for an APSCO (Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization) student tiny satellite project.

The CHASE (508-kilogram) is on a mission to collect the very first spectroscopic solar observations that is full-disk in H-alpha deep-red visible spectral line waveband. CHASE will investigate solar activity and offer crucial data meant for space weather forecasting, such as monitoring filaments before solar flares and coronal mass ejections.

The mission is designed to last three years and will conduct observations until the solar maximum in 2025. After a public competition to name the mission, it was given the name Xihe, which refers to a sun deity from Chinese mythology.

As per the platform creator, the SAST (Shanghai Academy of Space Technology), a key CASC subsidiary, the satellite is centered on a new base with very high pointing precision and great stability, hitting 1 to 2 bookings of magnitude higher than current domestic capabilities. The Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics, and Physics (CIOMP) got involved in the advancement of CHASE. The mission is now partly a technological verification test thanks to the new platform. The Long March 2D was also given by SAST for the operation.

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