The CBERS-1 satellite was successfully launched on October 14, 1999, at 1:15 a.m. (Brasília local time), aboard the Long March 4B rocket, from the Taiyuan Launch Center, China. The three stages burned as expected. The CBERS-1 satellite was released 13 minutes after the launch. The satellite was placed on an orbit of 98º inclination in relation to the Equator, at 1:28 a.m., at an altitude of 763 kilometers.
Thereupon CBERS-1 was separated from the last stage, the reception station at Nanning started receiving signals from the satellite, confirming the successful opening of the solar panels. The satellite crossed Brazil at around 11:30 a.m., 10 hours after the launch.
|First stage ignition
|| - 3
| Lift off
| Pitch off
| First stage cut off
| Separation between the first and second stages
| Fairing ejection
| Second stage cut off
| Cut off of the vernier engine of the second stage
| Separation between second and third stages
| Third stage cut off
| CBERS-1 orbit injection
The first seconds after launch:
Twenty seconds after take-off, the rocket makes the pitch-off maneuver to take the appropriate southwestern route to reach the specified orbit. The first stage of the rocket is turned off 2.5 minutes after the beginning of the flight and, by this time, it has consumed 182 tons of fuel.
The second stage ignition happens one second after the first stage stops burning, concomitantly with the splitting of the first stage which falls in a delimited region of the Chinese territory. Twenty seconds after the second stage ignition, the fairing that protects the CBERS-1 satellite is ejected to diminish the weight to be lifted. This ejection occurs at a height of approximately 110 km, where the atmosphere is sufficiently rarefied not to cause any type of turbulence that could damage the satellite. The ending of the burning of the main engine at the second stage occurs 4.6 minutes after take-off. The smallest engine of the first stage (vernier engine) keeps operating for 10 more seconds to perform small corrections in the rocket path so it can reach its specified point of injection.
The third stage ignition occurs 4.8 minutes after the take-off , together with the splitting of the second stage, which falls in a region of the Chinese territory, close to the border with Laos. The third stage burns during 6.6 minutes. Even after its burning is completed, the third stage still continues guiding the satellite for more 55 seconds for reaching the correct point of injection of the CBERS-1 in its orbit.
When the third stage reaches the ideal point in orbit, a computer command induces the small confined explosive load to break the toggle that secures the device that holds the CBERS-1 to the rocket. The CBERS-1 is then impelled by small springs that move it away from the third stage, thus entering orbit.
Check the launch campaign phases:
|Up to September 26
|| Satellite final tests
| September 27, 28 and 29
|| Filling up the CBERS-1 fuel tanks
| September 30
|| Assembly of the CBERS-1 to the fairing
| October 1 and 2
|| National Holiday in China (50 years of the People's Republic of China)
| October 3
|| Integration of the fairing and CBERS to the rocket
| October 4-11
|| Final integration tests of the satellite with the rocket
| October 12, 13 and 14
|| Filling up the rocket Long March fuel tank.
| October 14
|| Satellite launch
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