China launches spy satellite triplet for third time this year – Spaceflight Now

A Lengthy March 4C rocket lifts off Saturday with three Yaogan 31 army satellites. Credit score: Xinhua

Three Chinese language army satellites launched Saturday a Lengthy March 4C rocket, becoming a member of six others China has despatched into orbit because the begin of the 12 months on ocean surveillance missions.

The three Yaogan 31-series satellites took off at 0219 GMT Saturday (9:19 p.m. EST Friday) from the Jiuquan launch within the Gobi Desert of northwestern China, in accordance with a press release from China Aerospace Science and Expertise Corp., or CASC, the state-owned prime contractor for the Chinese language house .

The three-stage, liquid-fueled Lengthy March 4C rocket launched at 10:19 a.m. Beijing time Saturday.

The Lengthy March 4C deployed the Yaogan 31 trio in an orbit roughly 680 miles (1,100 kilometers) in at an inclination of 63.four levels to the equator, in accordance with publicly-available U.S. army satellite tv for pc monitoring knowledge. The circumstances of the launch match two Lengthy March 4C missions Jan. 29 and Feb. 24 that additionally carried three Yaogan 31 satellites into house.

In a post-launch assertion, CASC mentioned the Yaogan 31 satellites will gather electromagnetic knowledge.

The Yaogan identify is used for Chinese language army satellites. Yaogan satellites carry high-resolution , radar, and indicators intelligence devices, gathering data for evaluation by Chinese language army and intelligence companies.

Specialists on China’s house program imagine the Yaogan 31 satellites are designed to detect radio indicators to assist find international naval forces. Earlier than the three Yaogan 31 launches this 12 months, China despatched an identical trio of Yaogan 31 satellites into orbit in April 2018 on a Lengthy March 4C rocket.

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 could have deployed earlier generations of maritime surveillance satellites.

Saturday’s Lengthy March 4C flight was China’s seventh orbital launch try this 12 months. Six of the missions had been profitable..

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Comply with Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.

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