Long March 11 orbits 4 satellites in China’s 2nd orbital flight of 2019
China performed its second mission of 2019 with the launch of a Long March 11 rocket. The flight orbited four small satellites from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.
Liftoff took place at 1:42 p.m. local time (12:42 a.m. EST / 05:42 GMT) Jan. 21, 2019, using a 68-foot (20.8-meter) tall, four-stage Long March 11. Its payload was deployed into a Sun-synchronous orbit, according to Xinhua.
The four satellite payloads include two hyperspectral remote sensing spacecraft, an Earth observation satellite from ZeroG Lab and a deorbit test vehicle from SpaceTy.
Part of the primary mission, the two hyperspectral imaging satellites are part of the Jilin-1 constellation and are expected to have a resolution of 16 feet (5 meters), a 68-mile (110-kilometer) swath width and can collect data across 26 spectral bands, according to the GB Times.
Ten Jilin-1 satellites are already in orbit. China plans to orbit 60 satellites by 2020 and 128 satellites by 2030 to support global coverage for weather, resource monitoring, resource development, and more.
Riding alongside the primary payload were two technology demonstrators. Lingque-1A is a test satellite for Beijing-based ZeroG Lab and is designed to take images of Earth and perform high-speed data transmission, according to Xinhua.
The other demonstration satellite, Xiaoxiang-1 03, is a small spacecraft designed to conduct remote sensing tests for a year before deploying a small sail in order to speed up its orbital decay and eventual re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. It was designed and built by SpaceTy.
This was the sixth flight of a Long March 11 rocket. Its first flight took place in September 2015. The small, solid-fueled rocket is designed to launch on short notice from either road vehicles or ships and can send up to 1,500 pounds (700 kilograms) into a low-Earth orbit or 770 pounds (350 kilograms) into a Sun-synchronous orbit.
Video courtesy of SciNews
Derek Richardson has a degree in mass media, with an emphasis in contemporary journalism, from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. While at Washburn, he was the managing editor of the student run newspaper, the Washburn Review. He also has a website about human spaceflight called Orbital Velocity.