China launches its first sea-based space rocket

6 min read
  1. China has launched one of its Long March 11 rockets from a launch pad on board a ship in the Yellow Sea. This is the first time China has launched a space-bound rocket from a seaborne platform.
  2. China has joined USA and Russia as the only three countries with proven ability to launch rockets into space from sea. However, China is the only country to have launched from a sea platform and using launch technology that they solely and fully own and operate.
  3. The world’s first launch at sea was made in April 1967 with a Scout B carrier rocket, developed by the United States, from the San Marco platform off the coast of Kenya. The most recent sea launch took place in May 2014, when Sea Launch, a multinational joint venture, sent a Zenit-3SL rocket
  4. Launching rockets at sea can offer several advantages over land-based rocket launches. Firstly, the rocket can lift off closer to the equator, where Earth’s spin naturally provides a speed boost and decreases the amount of fuel needed to reach orbit thus reducing the launch cost.
  5. Further, compared with conventional land-based launches, a sea-based launch has a lower risk of causing trouble for densely populated areas along the rocket’s trajectory.
  6. China’s space rocket launch from a seaborne platform is another significant achievement in space programme. Recently, China became the first nation to land a rover on the far side of the moon.
  7. China has also decided to send a manned mission to moon and to build a scientific research station there.
  8. Further, China has also announced that its Tiangong or “Heavenly Palace”, a space station, will go into orbit in 2022. It is set to replace the International Space Station (ISS) which is due to be retired in 2024.

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