TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China's state-run media has announced that the autocratic country has fired a Long March rocket "over the skies of Taiwan Island, China."
According to a post uploaded to the Weibo page China航天 (China Aerospace) on Monday (Sept. 14), China planned to hold its second launch at sea at approximately 9:20 a.m. on Tuesday (Sept. 15). It stated that a Long March-11 HY2 would blast off from the Yellow Sea carrying nine Jilin-1 Gaofen-03 series remote sensing satellites into a 535-kilometer Sun-synchronous orbit.
The post stated that the rocket would use the "one arrow carries nine stars" method as the rocket "flies over the skies of Taiwan Island, China." The announcement also included a map of the rocket's trajectory, showing it launching from a position in the Yellow Sea and flying south directly over the heart of Taiwan proper before heading over the Bashi Channel, past the Philippines, over the South China Sea, and over the Malaysian state of Sabah, Indonesia's Kalimantan and East Java.
Since last summer, a sea platform in the Yellow Sea has become a new base for China to launch its small and commercial satellites, joining its land bases in Jiuquan, Xichang, Taiyuan, and Wenchang. The sea base had its first successful launch on June 5 of last year.
At that time, China did not specify which countries the rocket would pass over. However, Monday's announcement was obviously a provocative statement directed at Taiwan.
The so-called "one arrow carries nine stars" method refers to the Long March's ability to carry either several satellites or multiple warheads in the event of a war. With this launch, China is trumpeting its advances in aerospace and its military prowess.
Purported trajectory of Long March-11 rocket. (Weibo image)
China's state-run mouthpiece the Global Times on Tuesday reported that the communist regime had conducted a sea launch mission for its Long March-11 in the Yellow Sea off the coast of Shandong Province. The tabloid said that in this case, the rocket was launched from a vessel called the Debo-3.
According to the Chinese state-run outlet China News, the rocket blasted off at 9:32 a.m., Beijing time. The Chinese Communist Party-run People's Daily touted the launch as China's "first commercial sea-based space launch."
Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense responded to the incident by saying "In response to the relevant developments, the joint intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance units of the military have carried out a full assessment of the situation and have taken appropriate measures."
Long March-11 blasting off from Debo-3 on Tuesday. (Weibo, China航天 photo)
The sea launch is the first commercial application launch for the Long March-11, adding to China's booming commercial space with new, flexible launch capabilities. (Video: Shi Xiao) https://t.co/0iiTqIDnU8 pic.twitter.com/vS3X7XDtY4— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) September 15, 2020