China launched a new geostationary remote sensing satellite from the renovated Xichang Satellite Launch Center on Sunday. A Long March-3B/G3 (Y3) – Chang Zheng-3B/G3 – rocket orbited the Gaofen-13 satellite, lifting off from the LC2 pad at 16:57 UTC.
The new satellite, possibly an improved version of the CAST developed Gaofen-4 orbited on December 28, 2015, is being designated as a high-orbit optical remote sensing satellite to be mainly used for land survey, crop yield estimation, environmental management, weather warning and forecast, and comprehensive disaster prevention and mitigation, providing information services for national economic development.
However, some rumors indicate that the new bird could also be an optical reconnaissance satellite operating in geostationary orbit.
For this mission, the launch vehicle underwent improvements involving the satellite fairing and cargo pressurized transport systems, along with other elements such as the rocket igniters and laser inertial group data.
This was the first launch in several weeks from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center due to modernization work.
The Long March-3B (Chang Zheng-3B) launch vehicle started in 1986 to meet the international satellite launch market’s demand, especially for high power and heavy communications satellites. Its development was based on the fight proven technology of Long ...