China Launches three satellites for remote sensing, commercial data acquisition and x-ray astronomy

China was able to launch three satellites on Long March 4B rocket with the intention to be able to achieve commercial data acquisition, novel lobster eye x-ray astronomy and, last but not least, remote sensing. The launch took place on Friday 11:13 p.m. Eastern Time from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre. Even before an hour ended following the launch, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. announced that the launch was a success.

One of the satellites was Ziyuan-3 03, which was the main payload. Its purpose was to handle the remote sensing. The developer was China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) under the CASC. In order to ensure that it performs monitoring, resource survey and the production of geographical products, the designers included three cameras with a resolution of approximately 2.5 meters. It joins its predecessors, Ziyuan-3 1 and 2. With the help of the Gaofen-7 satellites, the trio will be in a position to provide satellite data sources that are even more stable. If things go as planned, that will be enhanced even further by the launch of an additional satellite, which will be the last of the Ziyuan-3 series satellites before the end of the year.

The other one is a smallsat means to perform x-ray astronomy. Its developer was the Shanghai ASES Spaceflight Technology Co. Ltd. It’s a research institute under a major subsidiary of CASC called the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology. It is the first of its kind in China and was experimenting in collaboration with Nanjing University and Hong Kong University. It is designed to capture the x-ray energy range and dark matter signals thanks to its ultra-large field of view.

Last but not least is the data acquisition one. The developer is the same, but it is to be used largely by the Beijing Guodian Gaoke Technology Co. Ltd. It will be testing the narrow-band Internet of Things constellation. 

At the beginning of the year, CASC has said that it would launch 40 satellites or rather rounds by the end of 2020. There would also be additional missions involving Kuaizhou and Expace among other service providers. So far, China is on the right track since this particular one marked the 21st one of this year. However, one must acknowledge that not all have been a success. For instance, the inaugural flight of the Long March 7A was a failure, and the same can be said about the Kuaizhou 11. There was also the Long March 3B launch that saw the loss of the Palapa-N1 communication satellite.

Nevertheless, the proportionality of the failure and the success shows great progress. As a matter of fact, China made a great milestone not long ago marked by its first independent interplanetary mission. That’s after the success of the launching of the Tianwen-1 to Mars.