Encyclopedia Astronautica
SJ



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SJ-2A
Credit: via Chen Lan
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SJ-1
First Chinese satellite; communications technology tests. Similar in appearance to Telstar 1.
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SJ-2A
Chinese satellite.
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SJ-2C
Chinese satellite. Balloon for atmospheric drag experiments.
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SJ-4
Credit: via Chen Lan
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SJ-5
Credit: via Chen Lan
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SJ-5
Credit: © Mark Wade
Chinese communications technology satellite. First launch 1979.07.28. SJ (Shijian) series were Chinese scientific research, technological experiment and military operational satellites of a variety of configurations.

China started to explore the upper atmosphere using rockets and balloons in the early 1960s. In the early 1970s, China began to utilize SJ satellites to obtain data on the space environment. The establishment of open state-level laboratories specializing in space physics, micro-gravity and space life science, and the founding of the Space Payload Application Centre provided the basis for public international collaboration on space science.

  • The SJ-1 was similar in appearance to the American Telstar and conducted communications technology tests. It used the DFH-1 satellite bus, weighed 221 kg, and monitored the space physics environment. The mission of SJ-2 covered both space technology and space physical measurements. The payloads included a solar X-ray detector, a single cell particle measurement device and a magnetometer. Also known as SKW-2, the spacecraft was a modification of SKW-1, replacing the telemetry music box with space exploration instruments, including a cosmic ray detector, x-ray detector, magnetometer, field effect solid state storage device, louver-type thermal control device, and above all, a solar-cell experimental power supply system with its own long duration telemetry. SJ-l was launched on March 3, 1971, and the long duration telemetry system powered by the experimental solar cells continued to operate normally after more than 8 years in orbit, until June 17, 1979, when the satellite re-entered the atmosphere and burned up. This was much longer than the expected life of one year, and greatly encouraged the design and development team.
  • SJ-2 was launched on September 20, 1981, weighed 257 kg, and conducted space physics and environment studies. Also known as SKW-3, the satellite included some technology flight demonstration experiments. It weighed 257 kg, with a hexagonal shape, and was equipped with four deployable solar panels at one end of the body. It was spin stabilized but with active on-board attitude control to keep the spin axis pointed toward the sun, using sun sensors, earth sensors, and hydrazine thrusters. The on-board instruments included a thermal ionization gauge, a solar x-ray sensor, a solar ultraviolet sensor; magnetometers, a scintillation counter, an infra-red radiometer, and an electron detector. The telemetry system was an improved version of that used on the DFH series, using an on-board storage device of sufficient capacity to collect data world-wide and then transmit the stored data when passing through an earth station in China. SJ-2 was successfully launched into orbit on September 20, 1981 by the launch vehicle FB-1, together with two other balloon satellites SJ-2A and SJ-2B. Although SJ-2 was the major item of the mission, the launching of three satellites using a single launch vehicle was considered a big success of space vehicle tracking, separation and control.
  • SJ-3 was an earth science satellite cancelled in 1985. It would have weighed 450 kg.
  • A Chinese astronomy satellite began development but was also cancelled in 1985. It would have weighed 500 kg and studied solar physics and astronomy.
  • The DQ-1A and DQ-1B (also given as DQ-1 and DQ-2) QQW balloon satellites were deployed on September 3, 1990 for studies of the density of the upper atmosphere. They weighed 2.6 kg and 3.3 kg and were deployed from the CZ-4 upper stage using a special adapter for multiple payload ejection.
  • SJ-4 was launched on February 8, 1994 and studied magnetospheric physics (particles and fields research). Also known as SKW-4, the satellite was dedicated to the study of the space charged particle environment, radiation effects, and radiation protection techniques. Main instruments included a high energy proton and heavy ion detector, a high energy electron detector, a plasma detector, a spacecraft surface potential meter, and single event upset monitors. SJ-4 weighed 397 kg, and was successfully launched into orbit by the maiden launch of the CZ-3A launcher on February 8, 1994
  • SJ-5 studied the radiation belts. The SJ-5 scientific satellite was built by the Chinese Center for Space Science Application Research of the Chinese Academy of Science. SJ-5 was the first satellite based on CAST968 bus and carried 11 science payloads. It weighed 298 kg and had an operational life of about three months. SJ-5 was designed to test a platform with three different attitude control technologies (3-axis, spin and gravity-gradient). It also carried an instrument for space single particle study, space fluid study (by return of images of fluid behavior to earth), S-band high-speed data transmission and large capacity solid storage experiments.

AKA: Shi Jian 1.
Gross mass: 221 kg (487 lb).
First Launch: 1979.07.28.
Last Launch: 2011.07.06.
Number: 12 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • CZ China's first ICBM, the DF-5, first flew in 1971. It was a two-stage storable-propellant rocket in the same class as the American Titan, the Russian R-36, or the European Ariane. The DF-5 spawned a long series of Long March ("Chang Zheng") CZ-2, CZ-3, and CZ-4 launch vehicles. These used cryogenic engines for upper stages and liquid-propellant strap-on motors to create a family of 12 Long-March rocket configurations capable of placing up to 9,200 kg into orbit. In 2000 China began development of a new generation of expendable launch vehicles using non-toxic, high-performance propellants with supposedly lower operating costs. However these encountered development delays, and it seemed the reliable Long March series of rockets would continue in operational use for nearly fifty years before being replaced. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • CZ Chinese orbital launch vehicle. China's first ICBM, the DF-5, first flew in 1971. It was a two-stage storable-propellant rocket in the same class as the American Titan, the Russian R-36, or the European Ariane. The DF-5 spawned a long series of Long March ("Chang Zheng") CZ-2, CZ-3, and CZ-4 launch vehicles. These used cryogenic engines for upper stages and liquid-propellant strap-on motors to create a family of 12 Long-March rocket configurations capable of placing up to 9,200 kg into orbit. In 2000 China began development of a new generation of expendable launch vehicles using non-toxic, high-performance propellants with supposedly lower operating costs. However these encountered development delays, and it seemed the reliable Long March series of rockets would continue in operational use for nearly fifty years before being replaced. More...
  • FB-1 Chinese orbital launch vehicle. The FB-1, like the CZ-2 launch vehicle begun the following year, was a two-stage booster developed from the DF-5 intercontinental ballistic missile. Payload for the booster was the JSSW, believed to have been a television-transmission military reconnaissance satellite. The incredible decision to develop two nearly identical rockets concurrently can be blamed on the turbulent factional politics after the Cultural Revolution. More...
  • CZ-4A Chinese orbital launch vehicle. The CZ-4 was developed and manufactured by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology. Its first stage was essentially the same as that of the CZ-3 and the second stage was identical to that of the CZ-3. The CZ-4's third stage, however, was a development, featuring a thin wall common intertank bulkhead tankage and two-engine cluster with both engines gimbling about two perpendicular axes. The third stage engine cluster connected to the tank aft bulkhead through the engine bay. The CZ-4 had two payload fairing configurations: Type-A and Type-B. The CZ-4 was designed for launching satellites into polar and sun-synchronous orbits. More...
  • CZ-2D Chinese orbital launch vehicle. The Long March 2D was a two-stage launch vehicle with storable propellants, suitable for launching a variety of low earth orbit satellites. Developed and manufactured by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology, the CZ-2D had a typical payload capability of 3,500kg in a 200 km circular orbit. Its first stage was identical to that of the CZ-4. The second stage was essentially the same as that of the CZ-4, except for an improved vehicle equipment bay. More...
  • CZ-3A Chinese three-stage orbital launch vehicle. The Long March 3A, by incorporating the mature technologies of the CZ-3 and adding a more powerful cryogenic third stage and more capable control system, had a greater geosynchronous transfer orbit capability, greater flexibility for attitude control, and better adaptability to a variety of launch missions. More...
  • CZ-4B Chinese orbital launch vehicle. The CZ-4B introduced in 1999 was an improved model of the CZ-4B with an enhanced third stage and fairing. It measured 44.1 metres in length with a first stage thrust of 300 tonnes. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • MAI Moscow Aviation Institute, Moscow, Russia. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • JPL Mission and Spacecraft Library, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1997. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Johnson, Nicholas L; and Rodvold, David M, Europe and Asia in Space 1993-1994, USAF Phillips Laboratory, Kirtland AFB, NM 80907, 1995..
  • NASA GSFC Orbital Parameters,
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Launch Log, October 1998. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Chen Lan, Dragon in Space, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Wen-Rui Hu, Editor, Space Science in China, Gordon and Breach Science Publishers, China, 1997..

Associated Launch Sites
  • Jiuquan China's first launch center, also known as Shuang Cheng Tzu. Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre, situated at 100 degrees East, 41 degrees North, is located in the Jiuquan Region, Gansu province, north-western China. It was China's first ballistic missile and satellite launch centre. More...
  • Taiyuan China's launch site for launch of polar orbiting satellites, also known as Wuzhai. Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center (TSLC) is situated in Kelan County, the northwest part of Shanxi Province, 280 km by road from Taiyuan City. More...
  • Xichang China's launch site for geosynchronous orbit launches. Xichang Satellite Launch Centre is situated in Xichang, Sichuan Province, south-western China. The launch pad is at 102.0 degrees East and 28.2 degrees North. The head office of the launch centre is located in Xichang City, about 65 kilometers away. Xichang Airport is 50 km away. A dedicated railway and highway lead directly to the launch site. More...
  • Jiuquan SLS-2 CZ launch complex. A second pad was built at the new launch complex for the CZ-2F manned spacecraft launcher, but used for smaller CZ-2D launch vehicles. Vehicles were processed at nearby Vertical Assembly Facility. More...

SJ Chronology


1979 July 28 - . Launch Site: Jiuquan. Launch Complex: Jiuquan LA2B. LV Family: CZ. Launch Vehicle: FB-1. LV Configuration: Feng Bao 1 XCZ-1-02. FAILURE: Second stage failure.. Failed Stage: 2.
  • SJ-1 - . Payload: Shi Jian 1. Mass: 221 kg (487 lb). Nation: China. Agency: PRC. Spacecraft: SJ. COSPAR: F790728A. Summary: The SJ-1 was similar in appearance to the American Telstar and conducted communications technology tests..

1981 September 19 - . 21:28 GMT - . Launch Site: Jiuquan. Launch Complex: Jiuquan LA2B. LV Family: CZ. Launch Vehicle: FB-1. LV Configuration: Feng Bao 1 XCZ-1-02.
  • SJ-2A - . Payload: Shi Jian 2B. Mass: 257 kg (566 lb). Nation: China. Agency: MAI. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: SJ. Decay Date: 1981-09-26 . USAF Sat Cat: 12842 . COSPAR: 1981-093A. Apogee: 1,598 km (992 mi). Perigee: 232 km (144 mi). Inclination: 59.5000 deg. Period: 103.30 min.
  • SJ-2 - . Payload: Shi Jian 2. Mass: 483 kg (1,064 lb). Nation: China. Agency: MAI. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: SJ. Decay Date: 1982-08-17 . USAF Sat Cat: 12845 . COSPAR: 1981-093D. Apogee: 1,608 km (999 mi). Perigee: 232 km (144 mi). Inclination: 59.4000 deg. Period: 103.40 min.
  • SJ-2B - . Payload: Shi Jian C. Mass: 28 kg (61 lb). Nation: China. Agency: MAI. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: SJ. Decay Date: 1982-10-06 . USAF Sat Cat: 12843 . COSPAR: 1981-093B. Apogee: 1,615 km (1,003 mi). Perigee: 233 km (144 mi). Inclination: 59.4000 deg. Period: 103.50 min. Summary: Balloon for drag studies..

1990 September 3 - . 00:53 GMT - . Launch Site: Taiyuan. Launch Complex: Taiyuan LC1. LV Family: CZ. Launch Vehicle: CZ-4A. LV Configuration: Chang Zheng 4 CZ4-2 (24).
  • QQW 1 - . Payload: QQW 1A. Mass: 4.00 kg (8.80 lb). Nation: China. Agency: MAI. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft: SJ. Decay Date: 1991-03-11 . USAF Sat Cat: 20789 . COSPAR: 1990-081B. Apogee: 811 km (503 mi). Perigee: 789 km (490 mi). Inclination: 99.0000 deg. Period: 100.90 min. Summary: QQW atmospheric balloon..
  • QQW 2 - . Payload: QQW 1B. Mass: 4.00 kg (8.80 lb). Nation: China. Agency: MAI. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft: SJ. Decay Date: 1991-07-24 . USAF Sat Cat: 20790 . COSPAR: 1990-081C. Apogee: 629 km (390 mi). Perigee: 596 km (370 mi). Inclination: 99.0000 deg. Period: 97.00 min. Summary: QQW atmospheric balloon..

1994 February 8 - . 08:34 GMT - . Launch Site: Xichang. Launch Complex: Xichang LC2. LV Family: CZ. Launch Vehicle: CZ-3A. LV Configuration: Chang Zheng 3A CZ3A-1 (32).
  • SJ-4 - . Payload: Shi Jian 4. Mass: 400 kg (880 lb). Nation: China. Agency: CASC. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft: SJ. USAF Sat Cat: 22996 . COSPAR: 1994-010A. Apogee: 26,837 km (16,675 mi). Perigee: 195 km (121 mi). Inclination: 28.7000 deg. Period: 465.40 min. Summary: Particles and fields research. .

1999 May 10 - . 01:33 GMT - . Launch Site: Taiyuan. Launch Complex: Taiyuan LC1. LV Family: CZ. Launch Vehicle: CZ-4B. LV Configuration: Chang Zheng 4B CZ4B-1 (56).
  • SJ-5 - . Payload: Shi Jian 5. Nation: China. Agency: CASC. Manufacturer: Shanghai Institute of Satellite Engineering. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft: SJ. USAF Sat Cat: 25731 . COSPAR: 1999-025B. Apogee: 865 km (537 mi). Perigee: 841 km (522 mi). Inclination: 98.9000 deg. Period: 102.00 min. Summary: Research satellite carried as a secondary payload to study the radiation belts..

2005 July 5 - . 22:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Jiuquan. Launch Complex: Jiuquan SLS-2. Launch Pad: SLS-2?. LV Family: CZ. Launch Vehicle: CZ-2D. LV Configuration: Chang Zheng 2D CZ2D-6 (85).
  • SJ-7 - . Payload: Shi Jian 7. Nation: China. Manufacturer: CASC. Spacecraft: SJ. USAF Sat Cat: 28737 . COSPAR: 2005-024A. Apogee: 573 km (356 mi). Perigee: 555 km (344 mi). Inclination: 97.6000 deg. Period: 95.90 min.

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