HELSINKI — A Long March rocket launched eight Jilin-1 remote sensing satellites Wednesday night, days after an earlier batch was launched into orbit from an offshore platform.
A 2D Long March took off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in northern China at 10:38 p.m. ET on May 4, and the thermal insulation plates peeled off as the rocket climbed toward the heaven.
On board were seven Jilin-1 Gaofen (“high resolution”) 03D satellites, numbered 27 to 33, and the larger, wide-field-of-view Jilin-1 Kuanfu 01C for Changguang Satellite Technology (CGST), a commercial remote sensing branch of the state-owned Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics (CIOMP) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
The approximately 43-kilogram Jilin-1 Gaofen satellites return panchromatic images with a resolution of 0.75 meters or three meters in multispectral mode.
Jilin-1 Kuanfu 01C has a mass of around 1,250 kilograms. It has a swath width of more than 150 kilometers, according to the Changguang Satellite, providing image products with a resolution of 0.5 meters in full color and 2 meters in multispectral mode.
The launch followed the launch on April 30 (universal time) of another five Jilin-1 satellites, namely Jilin-1 Gaofen 03D04-07 and the 0.50-meter resolution Gaofen 04A. The launch had been delayed due to bad weather.
New images from the Jilin-1 Gaofen-04A satellite launched on April 30 in the Long March 11 sea launch. 0.50-meter resolution images, and the highest of the 46 orbiting satellites of Changguang Satellite. [images: CGST] https://t.co/MwtBrFLUOP pic.twitter.com/7OngoUkkCj
— Andrew Jones (@AJ_FI) May 3, 2022
The satellites were sent to approximately 530 by 546 kilometers of sun-synchronous orbits by a Long March 11 solid rocket launched from a platform in the Yellow Sea. It was China’s third seaborne launch and the southernmost so far from the seaborne launch facility based in Haiyang, Shandong province.
China has developed infrastructure in Haiyang to allow launches from the sea. The capabilities can help relieve congestion at other national spaceports and reduce debris fallout near inhabited areas after inland launches.
It was also the first time a nearby final assembly and test base had been used for a March 11 launch, which had a positive impact on launch preparation time and transportation costs for the mission.
Cold release. Take off at 0330 UTC. This was the third sea launch on March 11. pic.twitter.com/Ou7sUaL0aJ
— Andrew Jones (@AJ_FI) April 30, 2022
CGST is one of the most prominent and well-funded commercial space companies to emerge in China since the 2014 political decision to open up the sector to private capital.
the signature insured $375 million in funding for its Jilin-1 project in November 2020 and has by far the largest Chinese commercial constellation in orbit. CGST is headquartered in Changchun, the capital of Jilin province, after which the constellation is named.
Changguang Satellite now has 54 satellites in orbit and claims its Jilin-1 constellation can revisit anywhere on Earth 17 to 20 times a day, providing more remote sensing data and product services for use in sectors including agriculture. , forestry, oceans, environmental protection, urban construction and scientific experiments.
CGST aims to complete the full 138-satellite, 10-minute overhaul constellation around 2030.
The launches were on the 13th and 14th of 2022 in China, all of which used Long March rockets developed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).
CASC is planning more than 50 pitches in 2022, including six missions to the Chinese Space Station.
Launch attempts by commercial actors, including landing spaceExpace, Galactic Energy, CAS Space and more are expected to join in the activity.