On Saturday morning, China successfully launched the Smart Dragon 3 (Jielong 3) launch vehicle off the coast of Yangtze in Guangdong province. This third launch of Smart Dragon 3 from the South China Sea attracted attention because it was the first time a foreign satellite was launched on this rocket.
A total of nine satellites were launched into space, including NExSat-1 — an experimental apparatus created by joint efforts of the Egyptian National Administration for Remote Sensing and Space Science and the German company Berlin Space Technologies.
Smart Dragon 3 — solid rocket, which has a height of 31 meters, diameter of 2,65 meters and takeoff mass of 140 tons. The main engine of the rocket is a high-performance solid fuel engine, capable of developing a thrust of 200 tons and containing within itself 71 tons of fuel.
One of the main features of Smart Dragon 3 — the ability to deliver several satellites with a total mass of 1,5 tons to a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 500 kilometers. This makes the rocket an ideal choice for customers who want to quickly and effectively launch a large number of satellites to create commercial networks in Earth orbit.
Smart Dragon 3 completed its first flight in December 2022 with the spacecraft in the Yellow Sea, launching 14 satellites into orbit. The second launch of the rocket took place in December 2023 off the coast of Yangtze, becoming the first launch of a sea-based rocket from the South China Sea.
The launch of the missile Smart Dragon 3 marked China’s tenth sea launch. Previously, five launches were carried out in the Yellow Sea using the rocket Long March 11, in the South China Sea three launches were carried out, including Smart Dragon 3, as well as one launch using the rocket Ceres 1 from the Beijing company Galactic Energy and Gravity 1 from the company Orienspace, also from Pekin. These launches open new opportunities for the development of China’s space industry.