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China Deploys Two Satellites for Earth Imagery and Technology Demonstration

The recent successful launch of two Chinese rockets placed Earth-imaging as well as technology illustration satellites into orbit. The Chinese rockets which carried the satellites were named Long March 11 as well as Long March 2D. 

Long March 11 is a four-stage launcher that was set off from a moving canister on Friday at 2013 hours GMT. Long March 11 was propelled by a solid-fueled first stage to take off into space from the Xichang launch base in Sichuan province, southwestern China. This launch marked the first Long March 11 rocket lift-off from Xichang after seven earlier Long March 11 launches from the Jiuquan facility, northwest China. 

Long March 2D booster was set into space at 0853 hours GMT, two days after Long March 11’s launch. The lift-off occurred at Jiuquan space center, located 1,600 kilometers northwest of Xichang. After two failed launch attempts, Long March 11 as well as Long March 2D rocket flights designate the 11th and 12th trials from China this year. Long March 11 rocket voyaged two trial satellites into orbit. Chinese officials gave no further details regarding the two satellites, now dabbed XJS G and H. 

China Academy of the Launch Vehicle Technology is a state-owned rocket contractor that designed the Long March 11 to carry small satellites into the orbit. Long March 11 has a height of about 69 feet and generates roughly 260,000 pounds of the thrust at take-off. 

CALT says that Long March 11 can transport up to 500 kilograms of the payload to 500-kilometer sun-synchronous polar orbit. After the launch of Long March 11 rocket, the CALT announced that a 2-meter payload envelop was incorporated to increase the volume for the satellites on top of rocket.CALT plans to carry out several Long March 11 rocket missions which staged from both land and sea-based spaceports.

According to U.S. military tracking data, the Long March 11 released two satellites in orbit 480 kilometers above Earth and 35 degrees inclination with the equator.

Onboard the Long March 2D rocket was an Earth observation satellite as well as a secondary payload. Long  March 2D is a two-stage liquid-fueled rocket that delivered a remote sensing satellite by the name Gaofen 9-02. Xinhua intends to use Gaofen 9-02 in disaster relief, estimation of crop yields, land surveys, urban planning, and road network design. 

The Long March 2D spacecraft becomes second Chinese satellite to be able to have the Gaofen 9 name after the first one launched in 2015. Both Gaofen 9-02 and its predecessor satellite launched in 2015,  are equipped with an imaging resolution of around 1 meter, the main component is an optical camera. 

Data from the U.S. military indicate that Gaofen 9-02 satellite’s orbit at an altitude of 490 kilometers and 97.3 degrees inclination with the equator. 

The Long March 2D carried a subsidiary payload developed by HEAD Aerospace, a company based in Beijing. The company plans to add HEAD 4 satellite to its cluster of miniature spacecraft.