Encyclopedia Astronautica
T-7



zt7laun3.jpg
T-7 Launch
China's first sounding rocket and first indigenously-built sounding rocket, launched from 1960-1965. The basic vehicle consisted of a single liquid propellant stage. This was later augmented with solid propellant booster stages. Later versions dispensed with the liquid propellant stage.

The Shanghai Institute for Electromechanical Design began development of China's first sounding rocket, the T-7, in October 1959. The first step was production and test of the T-7M subscale prototype. Under the leadership of Wang Xi Ji , China's first sounding rocket launch was completed at the seaside site of Laoqong, near Shanghai. The launch site consisted of a sandbag bunker and a 50 kW generator for power. Communications between the launch bunker and the outlying pad and tracking sites was by hand signal or relayed shouting. Tracking was done by manually-operated homing antennae. Bicycle pumps were used to fuel the rocket. The first successful launch of the liquid-fuelled T-7M to an altitude of 8.0 km came on February 19, 1960. On May 28, 1960, Mao Zedong, Yang Shangkun and other leaders visited a showroom of leading edge products at the Shanghai New Technology Exposition. As they stopped at the model of the T-7M, the interpreter related that the success had been achieved without the help of Soviet experts, and that the developers were all younger than 25. Chairman Mao was impressed and said the development team should push on to 200 kilometres or higher. In December 1960 the T-7M reached 9.8 kilometres supplemented by solid boosters.

In March 1960 work began on a launch pad for the full-scale T-7 in a mountainous area of Guangde in southern Anhui Province. The launch site was jointly funded by the Chinese Academy of Sciences' (CAS) Institute of Geophysics and the Shanghai Institute for Electromechanical Design. The full-scale T-7 rocket consisted of a liquid-propellant unguided core rocket surrounded by solid fuel boosters. It was 10 m long, 0.45 m in diameter and had a total mass of 1,138 kg. It was designed to loft a payload of 25 kilograms to an altitude of 60 kilometres. The first successful launch came on September 13, 1960. After several further tests, not all successful, it reached its design altitude in a flight to 58 kilometres on November 23, 1961. In May 1961, the Science and Technology Commission for National Defence ordered CAS to characterise atmospheric temperature, pressure, density and winds up to an altitude of 100 kilometres. The basic T-7 model could conduct such surveys up to 58 km. From 1960 to 1965, a total of 24 T-7's were launched in nine flight series. This included nine launches with the required meteorological payloads from August 4, 1963.

The T-7 telemetry system was developed by the CAS Institute of Automation (then called the First Design Institute) and the tracking system by the CAS Institute of Geophysics (Second Design Institute). From 1959 to 1965 Institute of Geophysics built the test facilities required to qualify the components for flight. These included vibration and impact platforms, high altitude pressure chambers, a high-decibel acoustic lab, a 6 m diameter centrifuge, and an ultra-vacuum 2 m diameter space simulator.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Launch Vehicles
  • T-7 Chinese sounding rocket. China's first sounding rocket and first indigenously-built sounding rocket, launched from 1960-1965. The basic vehicle consisted of a single liquid propellant stage. This was later augmented with solid propellant booster stages. Later versions dispensed with the liquid propellant stage. More...
  • T-7M Chinese sounding rocket. 2 stage test vehicle for T-7. More...
  • T-7A Chinese sounding rocket. Boosted version of China's first indigenously-built sounding rocket. Included solid propellant booster. The upper stage and payload were recovered by parachute and reused. Launches began in 1965. Consisted of a solid propellant booster mated to the basic liquid propellant T-7. Flown from 1965 to the end of the 1960's. More...
  • T-7/GF-01A Chinese sounding rocket. Three stage vehicle consisting of T-7A + GF-01A More...
  • HP2 Chinese sounding rocket. Two-stage solid propellant sounding rocket. Evidently used two of the first stage motors developed for the T-7A in tandem. Replaced the T-7 from 1970 on. Used for routine measurement of the upper atmosphere. More...
  • HP6 Chinese sounding rocket. Lightweight single stage solid propellant sounding rocket. Used for routine measurement of the upper atmosphere. More...

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...
  • Laogang Sounding rocket launch location known to have been used for 1 launch in 1960, reaching up to 8 kilometers altitude. More...
  • Shijiedu Sounding rocket launch location known to have been used for 7 launches from 1960 to 1966, reaching up to 115 kilometers altitude. More...

T-7 Chronology


1960 February 19 - . Launch Site: Laogang. LV Family: T-7. Launch Vehicle: T-7M.
  • Test mission - . Nation: China. Agency: Shanghai. Apogee: 8.00 km (4.90 mi). The Shanghai design institute completed the first subscale experimental model of the T-7 sounding rocket. This would use a solid booster and liquid propellant sustainer stage. The rocket was fuelled using a bicycle pump. Launched from Laogang, on the coast, the missile reached 8 km altitude.

1960 April 18 - . LV Family: T-7. Launch Vehicle: T-7.
  • T-7 motor test - . Nation: China. Related Persons: Tsien. Summary: Tsien reviewed rocket development in Shanghai and views a T-7 motor test..

1960 September 1 - . Launch Site: Shijiedu. LV Family: T-7. Launch Vehicle: T-7.
  • Test mission - . Nation: China. Agency: Shanghai. Apogee: 60 km (37 mi). Summary: First launch of the all-up missile..

1963 December 1 - . Launch Site: Shijiedu. LV Family: T-7. Launch Vehicle: T-7A.
  • Test mission - . Nation: China. Agency: Shanghai. Apogee: 115 km (71 mi).

1964 July 19 - . Launch Site: Shijiedu. LV Family: T-7. Launch Vehicle: T-7A-S.
  • Life Science (mice) Biological mission - . Nation: China. Agency: Shanghai. Apogee: 70 km (43 mi).

1965 - . Launch Site: Jiuquan. LV Family: T-7. Launch Vehicle: T-7.
  • DFH test Technology test - . Nation: China. Agency: PRCAS. Apogee: 83 km (51 mi).

1965 June 1 - . Launch Site: Shijiedu. LV Family: T-7. Launch Vehicle: T-7A-S.
  • Life Science (mice) Biological mission - . Nation: China. Agency: Shanghai. Apogee: 70 km (43 mi).

1965 June 5 - . Launch Site: Shijiedu. LV Family: T-7. Launch Vehicle: T-7A-S.
  • Life Science (mice) Biological mission - . Nation: China. Agency: Shanghai. Apogee: 70 km (43 mi).

1966 July 14 - . Launch Site: Shijiedu. LV Family: T-7. Launch Vehicle: T-7A-S2.
  • Life Science (dog) Biological mission - . Nation: China. Agency: Shanghai. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1966 July 28 - . Launch Site: Shijiedu. LV Family: T-7. Launch Vehicle: T-7A-S2.
  • Life Science (dog) Biological mission - . Nation: China. Agency: Shanghai. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1968 August 8 - . Launch Site: Jiuquan. LV Family: T-7. Launch Vehicle: T-7/GF-01A.
  • GF-01A satellite test - . Nation: China. Agency: CAST. Apogee: 311 km (193 mi).

1968 August 20 - . Launch Site: Jiuquan. LV Family: T-7. Launch Vehicle: T-7/GF-01A.
  • GF-01A satellite test - . Nation: China. Agency: CAST. Apogee: 311 km (193 mi).

1969 - . Launch Site: Jiuquan. LV Family: T-7. Launch Vehicle: T-7.
  • DFH test Technology test - . Nation: China. Agency: CAST. Apogee: 81 km (50 mi).

1969 June 1 - . Launch Site: Jiuquan. LV Family: T-7. Launch Vehicle: T-7A.
  • FSW satellite technology test - . Nation: China. Agency: CAST. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1969 July 1 - . Launch Site: Jiuquan. LV Family: T-7. Launch Vehicle: T-7A.
  • FSW satellite technology test - . Nation: China. Agency: CAST. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

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