The satellites launched by FB-1

Sven Grahn

The basic missile that became China's ICBM was developed at two places, Beijing and Shanghai. The overall design of the two vehicles was the same, but they were not compatible on subsystem level. The two rockets were also used as satellite launch vehicles. The Beijing version of the rocket became the CZ-2C and the Shanghai version was called FB-1. The FB-1 launch vehicle was flown only four times carrying the payloads listed in the table on the right (1).

The right picture below shows the three payloads flown on the last FB-1 flight in 1981. The conical vehicle carried the octagonal spacecraft inside it (see detailed picture). The conical vehicle carried coherent radio beacons on 40.5 and 162 MHz. The octagonal spacecraft was equipped with a transmitter on 180.0 MHz with FM/FM telemetry that I picked up on 20 September (the launch day) 1981 at 1749-1758 UT. The balloon on the right is the air density experiment carried as a third payload.

The SJ-2A and -2B satellites undergoing testing at JSLC. Please note similarity between the object on the left and the sketch of CK-1 below.

The SJ-2C balloon satellite for atmospheric density studies. Photo courtesy of Chen Lan.

SJ-2 launched by FB-1. Photo by Shanghai Bureau of Astronautics

 The head of operations at JSLC gave a lecture about the history of the launch site in October 1992 and showed several slides of spacecraft. One picture showed a vehicle which I think is the CK-1. I immediately made a sketch of the satellite and I have tried to draw a better version of that sketch below.


  1. Lecture by Long Lehao in Stockholm on China's Space Program 29 January, 1991.

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