Chinese rocket launches with top secret spy satellite

Discussion in 'China' started by Koji, Dec 10, 2009.

  1. Koji

    Koji New Member

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    A Chinese remote sensing mission, believed to be a military reconnaissance satellite, lifted off from a desert launch pad on a Long March rocket on Wednesday, state media reported.

    The Long March 2D rocket blasted off at 0842 GMT (3:42 a.m. EST), or during the afternoon at the Jiuquan launching base near the border of northern China's Inner Mongolia and Gansu provinces.

    The 135-foot-tall booster's two stages, fueled by hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide, guided the Yaogan 7 payload into a sun-synchronous orbit about 400 miles high, according to public tracking data.

    The state-run Xinhua news agency reported the satellite will be used for scientific experiments, land resources surveys, crop yield estimates and disaster response applications.

    But the craft is likely an electro-optical spy satellite to be operated by the Chinese military. Observers believe the Yaogan series, which began launching in 2006, is a new fleet of high-resolution optical and radar reconaissance satellites. The new satellite would be the third Yaogan spacecraft fitted with an optical imager.

    Yaogan 7 was built by the China Academy of Space Technology under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp., according to Xinhua.

    Wednesday's launch was announced less than a day in advance, typical publicity for Chinese military launches.

    The flight was the fifth launch of a Chinese Long March rocket this year, and the 69th space launch to reach orbit worldwide in 2009.

    Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | Chinese rocket launches with top secret spy satellite
     
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  3. Koji

    Koji New Member

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    A little history

    The satellite's predecessor, "Yaogan VI," was launched in April, from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in northern Shanxi Province.

    "Yaogan V" was launched last December, also from Taiyuan.

    "Yaogan IV" was also launched last December from Jiuquan and "Yaogan III" from Taiyuan in November 2007.

    "Yaogan I" and "Yaogan II" satellites were launched in April 2006 and May 2007, respectively
     

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