China sends classified satellite into space during first launch of 2022

China made its first launch of 2022 with a classified mission, the Shiyan 13 test satellite.

The Long March 2D rocket with the Shiyan 13 launched from the Taiyuan North Satellite Launch Center of the China National Space Administration (CNSA) on Tuesday (January 17) at 10:35 a.m. local time (0235 GMT). , or 9:35 p.m. EST on January 16). )

The satellite was successfully sent to its “default orbit”, the CNSA said in a statement automatically translated from Chinese. The statement added that given the low temperatures of minus 37 degrees Celsius (minus 35 Fahrenheit) at the launch site, the launch team added “product sealing measures” to the rocket to ensure a safe launch.

Related: The latest news on China’s space program

A Chinese Long March 2D rocket carrying the Shiyan 13 lifts off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center. (Image credit: CCTV)

“The Experiment No. 13 satellite is mainly used to carry out space environment detection and related technological experiments,” the CNSA added of the mission, saying it plans “more than 40 space launch missions” by 2022. a record 55 pitches. in 2021.

Follow-up information later showed that Shiyan-13 is in a 99-degree near-polar orbit, which ranges between 221 miles and 805 miles (357 km and 1,297 km) above Earth, SpaceNews reported.

“Shiyan is understood to be a series of test satellites, first launched in 2004,” SpaceNews added. “China currently has more than ten Shiyan satellites in sun- and geosynchronous orbits.”

No other information about Shiyan 13’s use or payload has been provided in Chinese state media, although the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, the main contractor for China’s space program, noted that the rocket used a new 6 foot (2 meter) satellite. standoff device due to unique mission requirements.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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