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China Space Earth Transportation Technology

Chinese Rocket Fails To Put Two Satellites Into Correct Orbits (spaceflightnow.com) 113

schwit1 writes: Tracking data suggests that two Earth-observation satellites launched today by China's Long March 2D rocket were placed in the wrong orbits. Spaceflight Now reports: "The two SuperView 1, or Gaojing 1, satellites are flying in egg-shaped orbits ranging from 133 miles (214 kilometers) to 325 miles (524 kilometers) in altitude at an inclination of 97.6 degrees. The satellites would likely re-enter Earth's atmosphere within months in such a low orbit, and it was unclear late Wednesday whether the craft had enough propellant to raise their altitudes. The high-resolution Earth-observing platforms were supposed to go into a near-circular orbit around 300 miles (500 kilometers) above the planet to begin their eight-year missions collecting imagery for Siwei Star Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp., a government-owned entity."
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Chinese Rocket Fails To Put Two Satellites Into Correct Orbits

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  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Thursday December 29, 2016 @03:36AM (#53570187)

    Long March 2D Rocket, genuine manufacture, capable of placing satellites in orbit. Minimum order quantity 2, maximum order 25 requires 2 week lead time. International shipping from Guangzhou.

    • Rocket Long March 2 composing genuine , flight of satellite egg duck spacing air.

      Ftfy. That's Alibaba.

  • JOURNALISM (Score:5, Informative)

    by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Thursday December 29, 2016 @03:52AM (#53570209)

    "flying in egg-shaped orbits "

    Maybe you mean elliptical orbits.
    You can't get an egg shape (one end wider than the other) without coniuing to use thrust

    • Unless if , you are in the communist world .
    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      Maybe [they] mean elliptical orbits.
      You can't get an egg shape (one end wider than the other) ...

      Chinese are obsessed with food and cooking. Food analogies are common there.

      Actually, not all eggs are wider on one end. Some are nearly elliptical. I'm actually fine with the egg comparison as an approximate description meant for a colloquial audience.

      • My biophysics tell me Chinese do not know what to eat, they could not wholly incorporate Kitchen nor new (evolved) food regimes or sources in them, hence Chinese food is such a porridge of flavors and sources. Not that bad... but it also makes them somewhat cannibal and coprophagous naturally, which would be like one of those dark secrets of famed Chinese Dark and Secret Societies. Good to see I have a third party indication of the fact.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Not all eggs are wider on one end. Some turtle eggs are spherical.

    • Re:JOURNALISM (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Thursday December 29, 2016 @04:26AM (#53570289)
      Average reader: "What's 'elliptical' mean?"

      As much as I hate to say it, this bit of dumbing down is probably warranted.
    • I havent thought about it, but I feel like maybe such an orbit is possible at least temporarily if there are multiple influencing bodies synchronized exactly or the weight distribution of the thing being orbited was a certain way.

    • You can't get an egg shaped object with only two objects orbiting under gravity. With many bodies, however, things are far less clear. In addition, there is the effect of the atmosphere around the perigees. The orbits these things make won't be perfectly elliptical.

    • Journalism uses words people understand. People know what eggs look like but few know what elliptical means and even less know about coniuing thrust.

      Journalism is targeted at 15 year old reading level or lower. This is how journalists are taught to write for a general public.

      • That's just insulting. When I was a 15 year old American boy, I knew damn well what an ellipse was. By 15, I think we were solving elliptical equations and not merely visualizing the "two pins and string" model. I also knew (because of my career of aspiring to be an astronaut since age 6) what an elliptic orbit was and the burns needed to get into and out of them.

        • That's just insulting. When I was a 15 year old American boy, I knew damn well what an ellipse was.

          Not at all. The media wasn't written for you, it was written for everyone. That includes the lowest common denominator and I guarantee there are many 15 year olds as well as many adults who don't have a clue what an ellipse is, let alone solving elliptical equations.

          If you want something to suit your brain, read the official materials not the ones that are presented to the general population, but don't feel insulted if not everything is written with you in mind.

      • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

        If few people know what elliptical means than that is solid proof that the education system is a complete and utter failure.

    • > You can't get an egg shape (one end wider than the other) without coniuing to use thrust

      You can: technically an egg-shape orbit is an orbit that, after a few revolutions, brings the orbiting object against the Earth surface, so that it shatters against the ground just like a egg.
    • "flying in egg-shaped orbits "

      Maybe you mean elliptical orbits.
      You can't get an egg shape (one end wider than the other) without coniuing to use thrust

      Please remember that this 'summary' was written for slashdot users, many of whom don't know the difference between "apogee" and "perigee", let alone anything having to do with physics, orbits, thrust, reaction mass, or any other technically-oriented subject. Even referring to it as "egg-shaped" will baffle many of them.

      They're too busy parroting shit about why PHP is so horrible while coding their new Flappy Bird app in Visual Basic and forgetting to sanitize their inputs, in between bouts of throwing racia

    • They are going to use thrust or already did, trying to correct orbit. It is implied in the summary text. But anyway, it only makes that mission more expensive, less time to get data, harder to analyze data, different data consumers, etc. Not like you can get it all raw from google maps... Problem is we no longer want to hear news on failed missions, so far, five missions failed in a few months by nearly all spatial powers.
  • I doubt it. More like "secret" orbit.
    • by dadman ( 576569 )

      I doubt it. More like "secret" orbit.

      Yes, very likely to be the truth.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I doubt it. More like "secret" orbit.

      You jest, but if anyone's inclined to take you seriously: it's unlikely. Observation (and spy) satellites need to be in a circular, sun-synchronous orbit. The second part is there, as they have the inclination of 97.6 degrees. However, an elliptical orbit with the apogee of 524 km tells us that the first (and possibly the only) circularization burn failed. A satellite in such an orbit is pretty much useless.

    • by tomhath ( 637240 )
      The "egg shaped" orbit of this Chinese satellite is very close to the orbits of the US KH-11 spy satellites [wikipedia.org]. So it might well be a knock off.
      • by Tsingi ( 870990 )
        It's interesting that Wikipedia shows a conceptual drawing of a spy satellite. It can see us, can we not see it?
      • close, but a good 40km deeper into the atmosphere at perigee, which will induce more drag, reducing apogee height. If this thing is already not able to thrust to their intended orbit, the drag will eventually pull it down deeper into the atmosphere where it will burn up.

        The KH-11s probably have working thrusters that keep them in their orbits for their designed lifetimes, and there are probably replacements sitting in a hangar at Vandenberg AFB.

  • Not sure what the orbit is but it would be a good cover story for a short term surveillance satellite. Especially to observe other satellites.

  • by Maritz ( 1829006 ) on Thursday December 29, 2016 @08:11AM (#53570751)
    Copies of Kerbal Space Program. Hell, even pirate it.
  • They did pull off a first if they managed to establish an egg shaped orbit. Virtually every other orbit that isn't affected by a third body is elliptical.
    • other orbital shapes with two bodies are possible.

      circular orbit, unless you consider circle special case of ellipse where minor axis diameter equals major.

      there are also the open orbits, parabolic and hyperbolic.

      going for the really broad special cases, the other two conic sections are point and line which are also possible in two humorous circumstances.

      • by Tsingi ( 870990 )
        A circle is a sphere with equal radii. Is a parabolic course an orbit?
        Anyway, it was the egg shape that I objected to. Haven't gone back to read why I cared.
        • Yes in orbital mechanics books you can read about "closed" and "open" orbits.

          A circle is two-dimensional object, sphere is 3D. A circle is not any type of sphere.

  • Now China is going to claim that they own low Earth orbit [worldaffairsjournal.org], and forbid anyone else to move through it. But we will continue to do so, as the claim is ridiculous.

  • "The high-resolution Earth-observing platforms..."

    In other words, "spy satellites specifically built for tracking people".

  • Well despite all the jokes, admittedly doing anything in space is difficult and prone to failure even on systems that are "proven". Due to a programming failure, the European Mars lander ended up as a crater instead of landing and that's not the first Mars lander to mess up and probably not the last. Putting stuff into orbit sometimes doesn't even make it off the ground (SpaceX, Orbital Sciences).

  • Their two spy satellites are going to be toast, tough luck Chinese military intelligence.
    • by g01d4 ( 888748 )

      Their two spy satellites are going to be toast

      Please don't say that. The Chinese way of decommissioning satellites can have an unhappy ending. [wikipedia.org]

  • By taking the profit motive out of the organization, we see our unlimited potential to succeed.
  • Cut corners. Fail. Break it. Do it again, still cutting corners. Fail. Pass it off as acceptable.

In English, every word can be verbed. Would that it were so in our programming languages.