Xichang Satellite Launch Center set a record by completing 25 launches of BeiDou satellites
On November 5th, the first satellite of BeiDou-3 global network was launched at Xichang Satellite Launch Center (XSLC). So far, all BeiDou satellites have been sent into space with 100% success rate, laying a solid foundation for China's BeiDou project.
On October 31st, 2000, China's first BeiDou navigation test satellite was launched successfully at XSLC. Lin Yunan, the Director of the Human Resources Department of XSLC, said: "Since then, 25 launches of BeiDou satellites have all been completed at this launch center during the past 17 years and 29 BeiDou satellites including 4 experimental ones were all sent into space."
Established in December, 1970, XSLC mainly assumes launch missions of geosynchronous satellites. With the highest launching orbit in China, XSLC conducts most launches of Chinese satellites. Since its first mission in 1984, XSLC has already sent more than 100 domestic and foreign spacecrafts into space. It also created more than 10 "first" in the history of China's aerospace industry, such as the successful launch of the first test communication satellite in China.
BeiDou Satellite navigation constellation consists of medium earth orbit (MEO), inclined geosynchronous orbit (IGSO), and geosynchronous orbit (GEO) satellites, all in medium or high orbits.
"At present, medium and high orbit satellites can only be launched by A-series rocket of Long March-3, while this kind of rocket can only be launched at XSLC." said Lin Yunan.
To improve the success rate of launch, XSLC started to construct a quality management system in 2004 and became the first Chinese space launch site approved by ISO9001 in September, 2006.
In April, 2007, the first satellite of BeiDou-2 was launched. At that time, XSLC was facing many challenges such as the first use of the new No. 3 launch station and remote control mode, and the first launch of MEO satellites. Therefore, after conducting in-depth analyses on the overall situation, scientific and technological personnel of XSLC identified 62 risk factors and laid down 136 measures. In this way, they ensured the control of the implementation of the overall mission and sent satellites into the intended orbits successfully.
According to the plan, 18 BeiDou-3 satellites will be launched around the end of 2018 to cover countries along the Belt and Road. The constellation deployment will be completed with the launching of more than 30 satellites by 2020 to provide services for global users.
"It means that in the next few years, XSLC will enter into a period of high-density BeiDou satellite launches." the Director of the Publicity Department of XSLC Zhang Xiaoxia said so. She also said that they will make full preparation in strict accordance with procedures, plans, and processes to ensure the success of every mission.
Up to now, among the four major launch sites in China, XSLC is the first one whose number of launches exceeded 100. It created a wonder in the world astronautics history by 81 consecutive successful launches since 1997.