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China launches military spy satellite trio into orbit – Spaceflight Now

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A Chinese language Lengthy March 4C rocked launched Friday with three Yaogan 31 army surveillance satellites. Credit score: Xinhua

China launched three Yaogan army satellites Friday on a Lengthy March 4C rocket, including to a fleet of spacecraft impartial analysts imagine are designed to spy on naval forces.

The three Yaogan 31-series satellites lifted off aboard a three-stage, liquid-fueled Lengthy March 4C rocket at 0447 GMT Friday (11:47 p.m. EST Thursday), in response to the China Aerospace Science and Know-how Corp., or CASC, China’s largest state-run aerospace contractor.

The federal government-owned firm stated the Lengthy March 4C rocket launched from the Jiuquan house base within the Gobi Desert of northwestern China. The launcher headed southeast from Jiuquan to put the Yaogan 31 satellites into orbit.

The Lengthy March 4C deployed the trio of Yaogan 31 satellites into an orbit roughly 680 miles (1,100 kilometers) in altitude, with an inclination of 63.four levels to the equator, in response to publicly-available U.S. army monitoring knowledge.

Chinese language officers declared the launch a whole success. It was China’s second orbital launch of 2021.

The Yaogan 31 satellites will probably be “primarily used for electromagnetic setting detection,” CASC stated in an announcement.

The trio of Yaogan 31 army payloads are believed by Western analysts to be maritime reconnaissance satellites, serving to Chinese language army authorities monitor overseas naval actions. China makes use of the Yaogan title as a canopy title for army satellites.

The U.S. army catalogued six objects left in orbit after the Lengthy March 4C launch. One of many objects is the rocket’s higher stage, and three are the Yaogan 31 satellites. It was not instantly clear if the 2 extra objects are smaller satellites launched on the identical mission, or house particles.

Six earlier Lengthy March 4C missions in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2018 carried comparable naval surveillance satellites into house. All of these missions used Lengthy March 4C rockets launched from Jiuquan to put satellite tv for pc triplets into the identical 680-mile-high orbit inclined 63.four levels to the equator.

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Comply with Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.

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