Shijian-10 launched one day earlier – to space and back

Chinese National Space Administration CNSA launched their research satellite Shijian-10 (SJ-10) from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

Satellite was launched on atop of Long March 2D rocket at 17:38 GMT. Rocket put weighing 3600 kg satellite on Low Earth Orbit at 220 km x 482 km with inclination at 63°. Mission will last for 15 days. Satellite will reentry after reducing speed and changing course thanks to retro rocket motor and will land in traditional landing zone of Chinese returnable satellites: southwestern region of province of Sichuan (it is worth to mention that some sources are pointing at Siziwang Banner in Inner Mongolia which is landing zone for manned spacecrafts from Shenzhou series).

SJ-10 is most recent from Shijian research satellites. It was designed, as part of program conducted by National Space Science Center (CAS), by Hu Wenrui, academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. SJ-10 was based on launched in 2006 SJ-08 satellite which was able to stay on LEO for four weeks and bring back 215 kg of biological payload. SJ-08 and SJ-10 are based on Chinese imaging and reconnaissance satellite Fanhui Shi Weixing, which was launched for the first time in 1975. SJ-10 was modified to increase payload capacity to 600 kg with simultaneously reducing operational life to two weeks. Also due the fact, that payload consists microgravity experiments, it has no attitude control or any kind of system which could potentially change conditions inside spacecraft. Power is provided by onboard battery, satellite is not equipped in solar arrays due the short mission duration; retro motor is solid fueled (HTBP) thruster with thrust at 40.66 kN.

Payload of the SJ-10 consists experiments developed in the cooperation of various institutions in China and around the world. Cooperating organizations are: 11 institutes representing China Academy of Science, six Chinese universities, ESA and JAXA. Most of experiments refer to different aspects of physic in microgravity conditions: fluid physics, combustion processes. Other experiments are referring to radiation and its effect on different materials. Third part of the payload is biological and devoted for monitoring of space radiation to live organisms. Good example of the cooperation between different science organizations and Corporations under public-private partnership is ESA experiment. It is result of cooperation with French Total and Chinese PetroChina corporations and will help to improve knowledge about processes of crude oil on depths around 8000 m.

On picture above - reentry of the spacecraft.