As per the latest reports, China has launched the first set of its Yaogan-31 remote sensing satellites to space. A Long March-4C rocket carrying the Yaogan-31 satellites blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center (JSLC) in northwestern China on Tuesday at 12:25 p.m. Beijing time. Along with the Yaogan-31 satellites, Chin also sent a micro nanotechnology experiment satellite into orbit aboard the Long March-4C rocket.
It is speculated that Yaogan-31 satellites will be used for electromagnetic environment surveys as well as other related technology tests. China launched the Yaogan-31 satellites without any prior notice. Details of Tuesday’s mission and the pre-launch preparations were kept hidden by China. But sources say, the spacecraft got separated from the payload about 15-20 minutes after the lift-off. The Long March 4C booster successfully deployed the satellites in the lower-Earth orbit.
The confirmation of the successful mission came at around one hour after the liftoff. The state-run Xinhua Space Agency announced the successful deployment of the payload in space. Tuesday’s mission included three Yaogan-31 satellites, namely Yaogan-31 01A, O1B, and O1C. Each of these satellites is equipped with two deployable solar arrays.
Although Xinhua says that the Yaogan-31 satellite trio will be employed for electromagnetic environment surveys and other related technology tests, the western analysts suspect that the satellites are sent for military purposes and have either optical or synthetic aperture radar (SAR) sensors fitted on them. The first Yogan series satellite, the Yaogan-1 was launched in 2006. Recently, on January 25, 2018.
The Yaogan-30 satellite trio was launched aboard a Long March 2C rocket. Tuesday’s launch marked the 271st orbital mission of the Long March rockets series overall and the 11th one for China this year. China will next launch the Apstar 6C communications satellite to space aboard a Long March 3B rocket. The launch is scheduled to take place on April 21.