Chinese Space Agency achieved another milestone in their program of space exploration – Long March 4B delivered yesterday to orbit first orbital X-ray telescope designed and made in China.
On June 15th at 03:00 UTC Chinese Long March 4B rocket took off from launch pad 603 at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center Launch Complex 43 with weighing 2700 kg Hard X-Ray Modulation Telescope. This scientific instrument is first X-Ray telescope designed and manufactured in China. It will continuously scan of the high-energy X- and gamma-ray space and seek new celestial phenomenon generating high rates of X-Ray like new neutron stars or black holes.
Created by Institute for High-Energy Physics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Tsinghua University HXMT is equipped with 18 phoswich scintillator modules that convert detected X-rays into visible light, which is possible to be recorded with ordinary optical sensors. They are installed in two concentric circles with total surface of 5100 square centimeters with energy range of 15 to 350 keV. Another part of Huiyan is The Medium-Energy X-ray telescope. It is able to operate within range of energies from 5 to 30 keV, using 1728 Silicon-PIN diodes (these are acting like detectors). Last element is and the 0.7-15 keV Low-Energy X-ray telescope equipped with 96 Swept Charge Devices. HXMT is powered by two deployable solar arrays and based on Phoenix-Eye-2 satellite bus.
Long March 4B rocket was designed by China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology for LEO and SSO missions with possibility of lifting up to 4200 kg of payload (for LEO, for SSO it is 2800 kg). It remains in service since 1999. Its construction bases on three stages fueled with N2O4/UDMH; rocket is long for 45.8 m with diameter at 3.35 m and weighs 249200 kg. Comparing to Long March 4 it is equipped with fully digital avionics and longer payload fairing. First stage of the rocket is long for 24.65 m and is equipped with YF-21B engine generating thrust at 2971 kN. Second stage is long for 10.4 m and is equipped with YF-24B engine, which is basically combination of central YF-22C (thrust at 742.04 kN) and four stabilizing YF-23C (with thrust per engine at 47.1 kN). Third stage length is 2.9 m with single YF-40 engine providing thrust of 100.8 kN.
With HXMT Long March 4B delivered three satellites: ÑuSat-3 and two Zhuhai-1 series spacecrafts.
ÑuSat-3 is third from constellation operated by Satellogic. Aleph-1 Earth Observation Satellite Constellation will offer imaging satellite services on the commercial market. Each satellite weighs 37 kg with dimensions of 43 x 45 x 75 cm. Imaging payloads is capable to take panchromatic or color images with 1 m resolution (with 5 km swath) or color images.
Pair of Zhuhai-1 satellites (with weight of 50 kg each) are first of two spacecrafts operating as part of planned Chinese Orbita Earth observation system. This constellation will base on video, hyperspectral and personal satellites. First two will operate as video satellites with high resolution camera able to capture video with 20 fps rate and with 1.98 m ground resolution.