China launches LKW-4 earth observation satellite

Image courtesy of CASC.

On 17 March 2018, at 3:10 p.m. Beijing time (GMT+8), China launched LKW-4, the fourth satellite in a series known simply as “Land Survey Satellite”. The launch took place from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center using a Long March 2D rocket. The mission has been declared a success.

The first two LKW satellites were launched on 3 and 23 December 2017 respectively, and the third on 13 January 2018, all using a Long March 2D from Jiuquan. China’s space agency has not revealed many details of the satellite series, except to say that all have been 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).

This was the fourth launch using the Long March 2D this year, the first three having launched SuperView-1 03 & 04 (9 January), LKW-3 (13 January), and the China Seismo Electromagnetic Satellite (CSES) (2 February).

This was also China’s first launch since the Spring Festival holidays. It is also China’s 9th launch of the year, reaching a quarter of its target of 35 launches in 2018.

China’s next launch is expected to take place in approximately a week, which 2 back-to-back launches of the Zhuhai-1 and BeiDou-3 satellites.

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