China’s ExPace launches Jilin-1 Gaofen-02A satellite

Image courtesy of Chang Guang Satellite Tech

Today, at 11.40 a.m. Beijing time (GMT+8), Chinese commercial launch company ExPace launched the Jilin-1 Gaofen-02A small satellite using the Kuaizhou-1A (KZ-1A) light launcher. The launch took place at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the Gobi Desert, whence it lofted the smallsat into the Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO).

This was the fourth mission of the KZ-1A rocket, a 19.4m rocket solid fuel rocket with the ability to take 300kg into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and 200kg to a 700-m SSO. The Kuaizhou series of launchers, which currently consists of KZ-1, KZ-1A, and the upcoming KZ-11, is a modified version of Chinese missile DF-21 IRBM. Kuaizhou developer ExPace, which has positioned itself as a competitive commercial small launch provider, is a subsidiary of the Chinese space agency’s state contractor CASIC, which develops most of China’s missiles and rockets.

The Jilin-1 Goafen-02A satellite is a civilian remote sensing satellite manufactured by Chang Guang Satellite Technology Co., and is part of the company’s Jilin constellation. The satellite has optical imaging capabilities of 0.75m resolution, with a multi-spectral resolution of 3m, and a revisit rate of 6 times a day. Today’s satellite will work with the 13 satellites already launched in order to provide earth observation imagery, especially in the sectors of agriculture and forestry. Chang Guang hopes to have 60 satellites by 2020, and 138 by 2030.

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