China launches another remote sensing satellite

Long March 2D. Image courtesy of CASC.

On December 3 2017, China launched a remote sensing satellite – its seventh in 2 weeks. Launched using a Long march 2D rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center at around noon Beijing time, China says the satellite is to be used for land survey purposes.

The satellite, known only as a “Land Survey” No. 1, is probably the first of a new series of remote sensing satellites. The previous 6 remote sensing satellites launched in the past 2 weeks comprised two groups of 3 satellites each, from the Yaogan and Jilin series. Like the satellite today, the Yaogan series is suspected to be for military and reconnaissance purposes.

China has not disclosed any details about the satellite, except that it was researched and developed by the Aerospace Dongfanghong Satellite Co., a subsidiary of the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) and the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC). Aerospace Dongfanghong and CAST have been responsible for the development of many of China’s satellites, including Venezuela’s VRSS-2 launched in October this year.

Based on the Long March 2D’s capabilities and the absence of information on additional payloads, it is probable that the satellite weighs about 3000kg, conforming to the rocket’s capacity of 3100kg. This is slightly heavier than the Long March 2C, which was responsible for the previous launch on November 27, carrying the 3 Yaogan satellites of approximately 800kg each.

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