Orbital Data for Long March 11 Test Launch

Photo: Weibo via 9ifly.cn
Photo: Weibo via 9ifly.cn

The debut launch of China’s Long March 11 rocket delivered five objects to orbit, tracking data provided by the Joint Space Operations Center shows.

Long March 11, an all-solid launcher and part of China’s new line of rockets, lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center at 1:41:40 UTC on Friday and successfully reached its target Sun Synchronous Orbit for the release of four satellites consisting of three 2U CubeSats referred to as Tianwang-1 A, B & C as well as a larger payload known as Pujiang-1.

The following tracking data related to the CZ-11 launch were issued:
2015-051A – 476 x 483km, Inc: 97.3°
2015-051B – 474 x 482km, Inc: 97.3°
2015-051C – 466 x 486km, Inc: 97.3°
2015-051D – 467 x 485km, Inc: 97.3°
2015-051E  – 142 x 577km, Inc: 97.3°

This data shows that the CZ-11 fourth stage conducted an orbit reduction maneuver to significantly lower its perigee and thus accelerate its orbital decay for re-entry within a period of days. It is now understood that the fourth stage of the Long March 11 is a solid-fueled rocket motor based on apogee kick motors used for Geostationary Satellites with an added liquid-fueled attitude control system which was employed for the orbit reduction maneuver shortly after spacecraft separation.