China’s Long March 11 rocket fires into space Monday from the Jiuquan space base. Credit: Xinhua
China’s second space launch of the year released four satellites into orbits more than 300 miles (500 kilometers) in altitude, adding two spacecraft to the Chinese-owned Jilin 1 commercial Earth-imaging constellation and deploying two smallsats on tech demo missions.
A solid-fueled, four-stage Long March 11 rocket fired the four satellites into orbit at 0542 GMT (12:42 a.m. EST) Monday from the Jiuquan space base in northwest China’s Inner Mongolia region.
The Long March 11 released the four payloads into polar orbits roughly 325 miles (525 kilometers) above Earth, at an inclination of 97.5 degrees to the equator, according to publicly-available U.S. military satellite tracking data.
The two primary passengers aboard Monday’s launch, which occurred at 1:42 p.m. Beijing time, were hyperspectral Earth-imaging satellites to join the Chinese Jilin 1 remote sensing fleet.
The two Jilin 1 hyperspectral imaging satellites likely weighed no more than few hundred pounds at launch, and carry infrared and hyperspectral cameras, according to China’s state-run Xinhua news agency.
Hyperspectral cameras are sensitive to light across a wide swatch of the electromagnetic spectrum, allowing the instruments to distinguish between different types ...