A Long March 2C rocket was launched by China on Friday, using 3 Yaogan 30 satellites. It tested grid fins equipped on the rocket’s 1st stage for guiding this spent booster out of populated areas.
This 2-stage rocket had its liftoff from XCS located in the Sichuan province in Southwest China at around 0377 GMT, as per an announcement from the CALVT, who happens to be the country’s leading developer of various satellite launchers. The liftoff took place at around 11:57 AM in Beijing time on Friday.
Tracking data that was published by US military officials showed that this rocket had achieved a 600 km or 370 mi high orbit, along with a 35-degree inclination to Earth’s equator. This orbit matches the level of the 4 previous triplets Yaogan 30 satellites that were launched in 2017 & 2018. These sats also went to space on these rockets supplied Xichang.
Similar to its predecessors, the fifth group’s exact purpose remained a secret as well. This group has been given the designation Yaogan 30-05. Data that was released by China’s state media channels stated that this spacecraft was developed for enabling remote sensing related missions. It is intended to be employed for the detection of electromagnetic environments and several other technological tests as well.
The Yaogan satellite series is thought to be controlled and operated by China’s military for the purposes of intelligence gathering. A few analysts suggest that the previous Yaogan satellites launched during previous years were testing electronic eavesdropping devices or were aiding Chinese military efforts for tracking the naval deployments of the US and other countries. However, further details regarding this spacecraft and its missions haven’t been released by China’s government.
The Chinese military also has another sat called Yaogan 30. However, it’s currently in a polar orbit & thought to be hi-res imaging spacecraft. Latest images showed aero surfaces being attached to inter-stage structures atop the mission’s 1st stage booster. These fins resemble the ones deployed aboard SpaceX’s Falcon boosters.
Chinese authorities stated that this mission tested aerodynamic control for steering boosters on their descent. Most rockets that are launched by China usually have their stages dropped near towns and villages, something that can be avoided if this mission is a success.