The Little Space Tug That Can

Advanced Upper Stage

The Yuanzheng 1 will make progress on Chinese satellite constellations like the Compass satellite navigation system much more faster.Sinodefence Forum

In another first for China’s world class space industry, a description of the liquid fuelled Advanced Upper Stage Yuanzheng 1 was publicly unveiled. Space tugs, a term for the upper stages of space rockets, are used to transfer satellite payloads from Low Earth Orbits to higher Geosynchronous Orbits. The Advanced Upper Stage differs from previous Chinese upper stages in that it can maneuver to place multiple satellites from the same mission into significantly separate orbits. Xinhua News reports that the Yuangzheng 1 will fly on the CZ-3 Long March rocket latter in 2014. The Yuanzheng 1’s technology will make Chinese space launches much more rapid and efficient, promising a big boost for the Compass satellite navigation system, space exploration probes and even for military platforms like communications satellites that control drones and ballistic missiles.