Weeks after the launch of an earlier trio of Chinese language navy satellites, one other spacecraft triplet efficiently took off Feb. 24 aboard a Lengthy March 4C rocket on a clandestine mission that analysts consider might contain spying on international naval forces.
The Yaogan 31 triplet launched at 0222 GMT on Feb. 24 (9:22 p.m. EST on Feb. 23) from the Jiuquan area base on the Gobi Desert of northwestern China. Liftoff occurred at 10:22 a.m. Beijing time.
Chinese language officers declared the launch successful, and U.S. navy monitoring knowledge indicated the three-stage, liquid-fueled Lengthy March 4C rocket delivered the Yaogan 31 satellites to an orbit 680 miles (1,100 kilometers) in altitude, with an inclination of 63.four levels to the equator.
China’s state-run Xinhua information company reported the Yaogan 31 satellites “will likely be used for electromagnetic surroundings surveys and different associated know-how assessments.”
The Yaogan title is used for Chinese language navy satellites. Yaogan satellites carry high-resolution optical, radar, and indicators intelligence devices, gathering info for evaluation by Chinese language navy and intelligence businesses.
The satellite tv for pc triplet launched Feb. 24 is the third trio of Yaogan 31-type satellites China has launched, following Lengthy March 4C flights in April 2018 and on Jan. 29. Unbiased analysts consider the Yaogan 31 satellites have a maritime reconnaissance mission serving to Chinese language navy authorities monitor international naval actions.
Earlier than 2018, China launched 5 Lengthy March 4C missions with Yaogan triplets into the identical 680-mile-high orbit utilized by the Yaogan 31 collection. These flights might have deployed earlier generations of maritime surveillance satellites.
The launch of three extra Yaogan 31 satellites Feb. 24 marked China’s fifth orbital launch try of 2021. 4 of these missions had been profitable.
China plans greater than 40 area launches this 12 months, together with a Lengthy March 5B rocket flight to loft the core module of a Chinese language area station, adopted by cargo and crew missions to the nascent orbital complicated.
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