They appear to shoot the entire vehicle out of a cannon-like container, then air-ignite the booster. I can't think of another launch vehicle that does this. The US did this sort of launch for the Sprint anti-ballistic missile: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msXtgTVMcuA
Long March 11 is based on solid rocket motors and is much smaller than Long March 5 (roughly equivalent to a Delta IV Heavy or an expendable Falcon 9) which uses kerosene and oxygen for the first stage and hydrogen and oxygen for the second stage.
The sequence goes like this:
- the missile is ejected from the silo by mortar system, that generates a huge amount of gasses under the missile to push it out, acting on a piston part located right under the missile
- the missile jumps out of the silo and the piston is ejected sideways via a small solid rocket motor
- some wiring harnesses and what looks like guide wheels is ejected from the missile
- the first stage engines of the missile (in this case liquid & hypergolic) are ignited and the missile starts to climb
This technique keeps the silo pretty much intact, which is nice for an ICBM acting as a space launch vehicle. Also IIRC for war use, it was theoretically possible to reload the silo and fire another missile before a retaliatory strike could destroy it, causing all kinds of havoc in cold war scenario planning.
A device that can carry several tons to GEO and to start in a slanted position along a mountain would be a very different beast than a usual rocket.
To say nothing about building several miles of an excessively straight maglev bridge along a mountain which is likely not that straight, and also highly visible.
The problem is getting out of the thickness of the lower atmosphere. That’s why rockets go up before they go sideways.
>They appear to shoot the entire vehicle out of a cannon-like container, then air-ignite the booster.
They have an interesting launch platform, maybe they are trying to limit the damage to equipment? As it is their strategy seems relatively gentle to their launch platform. This could give them faster turnaround on launches.