Analysts believe that China has launched a mysterious spy satellite that will “monitor land, crops and natural disasters” but can also collect military intelligence.
The Yaogan 33 (02) satellite was launched on a Chinese Long March 4C rocket from the Jiuquan Space Center in the Gobi Desert at 19:44 on Friday, September 2 (23:44 GMT, or 7:44 Beijing time on September 2). 3) in what was East Asia’s 35th successful launch this year.
The rocket took off into the sky, and the characteristic color patterns of the exhaust gases swept below, and clouds of dust and orange-brown smoke swirled around the launch tower.
The U.S. Space Force has detected two new objects in orbit associated with the Jiuquan launch: a new 428-by-423-mile (688 by 680 kilometers) polar-orbiting satellite and a Long March 4C upper stage in lower perigee orbit, or closer rendezvous with Earth, is 306 miles (492 km).
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Little is known about Yaogan 33, a new classified series of remote sensing satellites. State of the media controlled by the Chinese state (will open in a new tab)that the spacecraft would be used for “scientific experiments, national land censuses, crop yield assessments, and disaster prevention.”
However, Western space analysts suggest that the Yaogan series of satellites serve both civilian and military users in China. Last month, China launched new batches of Yaogan 35 satellites that can be used for Earth observation or intelligence gathering missions.
Nasaspaceflight reported that the previous 33-series satellite, Yaogan 33(01), launched in late 2020, was likely a spaceborne synthetic aperture radar (SAR) that can image through clouds and at night. Yaogan 33 (01) and (02) are now in the same orbit.
An attempt to launch what could be the first satellite of the Yaogan 33 series ended in failure in 2019, according to SpaceNews. (will open in a new tab)in 2019.
China has conducted 35 launches in 2022, with the country’s main space contractor, CASC, planning to launch more than 50 this year. The United States has launched 50 times as of September 5th.
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