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China’s Long March 11 rocket lofts Earth-imaging and tech demo satellites – Spaceflight Now

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China’s Lengthy March 11 rocket fires into area Monday from the Jiuquan area base. Credit score: Xinhua

China’s second area launch of the yr launched 4 satellites into orbits greater than 300 miles (500 kilometers) in altitude, including two spacecraft to the Chinese language-owned Jilin 1 industrial Earth-imaging constellation and deploying two smallsats on tech demo missions.

A solid-fueled, four-stage Lengthy March 11 rocket fired the 4 satellites into orbit at 0542 GMT (12:42 a.m. EST) Monday from the Jiuquan area base in northwest China’s Internal Mongolia area.

The Lengthy March 11 launched the 4 payloads into polar orbits roughly 325 miles (525 kilometers) above Earth, at an inclination of 97.5 levels to the equator, in response to publicly-available U.S. army satellite tv for pc monitoring information.

The 2 main passengers aboard Monday’s launch, which occurred at 1:42 p.m. Beijing time, have been hyperspectral Earth-imaging satellites to hitch the Chinese language Jilin 1 distant sensing fleet.

The 2 Jilin 1 hyperspectral imaging satellites probably weighed not more than few hundred kilos at launch, and carry infrared and hyperspectral cameras, in response to China’s state-run Xinhua information company.

Hyperspectral cameras are delicate to mild throughout a large swatch of the electromagnetic spectrum, permitting the devices to tell apart between several types of crops, measure vegetation well being, observe modifications in infrastructure, detect air pollution and assist in quite a few different environmental and safety utility

The Jilin 1 satellites are owned by Chang Guang Satellite tv for pc Know-how Co. Ltd., a industrial spinoff of the Chinese language Academy of Sciences.

Chang Guang has launched 12 satellites within the Jilin 1 household since 2015. The Earth commentary platforms are designed to gather high-definition video, coloration footage, and detailed hyperspectral imagery of Earth, offering info to the Chinese language army, civilian businesses and industrial customers.

Xinhua additionally reported that the Lengthy March 11 carried two smaller satellites into orbit as secondary payloads.

One of many smallsats, named Lingque 1A, is the primary check satellite tv for pc for a deliberate constellation of Earth commentary and information relay satellites deliberate by Beijing ZeroG Know-how Co. Ltd., Xinhua mentioned. The opposite payload — Xiaoxiang 1-03 — is a tech demo satellite tv for pc developed by Spacety Co. Ltd. to confirm radio communication and small distant sensing experiments, Xinhua reported.

China plans sea-based Lengthy March 11 launch this yr

Monday’s launch marked the sixth flight of a Lengthy March 11 rocket because it debuted in 2015, and the fourth Lengthy March 11 mission for the reason that starting of 2018.

Extra Lengthy March 11 launches are deliberate this yr, together with China’s first area launch from an ocean-going platform. A Lengthy March 11 rocket is scheduled to elevate off on a satellite tv for pc launch from a transformed container ship as quickly as June, in response to Chinese language state media.

Developed by the China Academy of Launch Car Know-how, or CALT, the Lengthy March 11 measures practically 7 toes (2 meters) in diameter and may haul as much as 770 kilos (350 kilograms) of payload to a 435-mile-high (700-kilometer) sun-synchronous orbit. Different solid-fueled rockets sized to loft small satellites have debuted in China in recent times, together with the Kuaizhou designed by the China Aerospace Science & Trade Corp., a unique unit in China’s state-run protection and aerospace equipment from CALT.

Each of the brand new rocket varieties blast off from a wheeled cell transporter.

A number of industrial Chinese language rocket corporations are additionally engaged on new smallsat launcher designs, together with the startup LandSpace, which carried out its first orbital launch try in October.

In a press release issued after Monday’s launch, CALT mentioned the Lengthy March 11’s simplicity and environment friendly operations scheme — enabled by its use of pre-packed stable propellants — make the rocket well-suited for launches at sea. Lengthy March 11 flights staged from an ocean launch pad in waters close to the equator would permit China to ship up satellites into low-inclination orbits, a vacation spot not available for launchers taking off from spaceports on Chinese language soil, CALT mentioned.

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Observe Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.

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