On 26 December 2017, at 3:44 a.m. Beijing time (GMT+8), China launched three remote sensing satellites from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.
During the launch, China’s Long March 2C rocket successfully placed into orbit three satellites from the Yaogan-30 (Group 3) series. Group 1 of the series, another trio of 3 satellites, was launched on 29 September this year, and marked the first launch of Yaogan satellites this year, while Group 2 was launched on 25 November.
China National Space Administration (CNSA) has said that the Yaogan-30 (2) satellites carry electromagnetic probes and “other experiments”. Like the other 40 or so Yaogan satellites launched so far, some analysts believe the latest Yaogan satellites are purposed for reconnaissance. They were developed by the Institute of Micro-satellite Innovation and Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
This was the 44th flight of the Long March 2C, a three-stage rocket that can carried up to 3,850 kg to Low Earth Orbit (LEO), and is the 260th mission of the Long March family.
This is probably China’s last launch of the year, closing the 2017 with 19 launches, including the failed launch of the Long March 5 on July 2.