On Dec. 27, China launched a new remote sensing satellite, Yaogan-33, into space from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center at 11:44 p.m. The mission used the Long March 4C carrier rocket to send the Yaogan-33 satellite and a micro-nano technology experiment satellite into orbit.
Designed by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the satellites will mainly be used for scientific experiments, land resources surveys, crop yield estimates, and disaster prevention.
This mission became the final one to achieve the nation’s Five-Year Plan in 2020. The Five-Year Plans are the nation’s social and economic development initiatives. China deemed the aerospace industry as an emerging industry in 2020. This year’s plan aims to better use satellites for remote sensing, earth observation, communication, and navigation. Yaogao-33’s mission concludes China’s 2020 launch campaign.
Yaogan-33’s success was achieved due to China’s long-term plan on remote sensing satellite and constant practices. On May 22, 2019, Yaogan-33 was lost on a Long March 4C carrier rocket’s launch failure. Till now, the Long March 4C carrier rocket conducted 24 launches during this year’s Five-Year Plan implementation, sending 53 satellites into designated orbits.
This year’s Yaogan-33 was carried out in winter. The weather conditions during the launch mission were extremely frigid, bringing tremendous challenges to the team. The experiment team conducted 20 safeguard tests, including ground equipment operation, propellant refueling, payload environmental protection system, etc.
Developed by the CASC, the Long March 4C carrier rocket is fueled by normal-temperature liquid and features a three-stage launch system. The carrier rocket is capable of lifting all kinds of satellites and sending them to distinctive orbits. The rocket can launch either one or multiple satellites at the same time. It can carry up to three tons in a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 700 km.
Located in China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center is the nation’s first satellite launch center. The site includes a Technical Center, two Launch Complexes, Mission Command and Control Center, Launch Control Center, propellant fuelling systems, tracking and communication systems, gas supply systems, weather forecast systems, and logistic support systems. Jiuquan was originally used to launch scientific and recoverable satellites into medium or low-earth orbits at high inclinations. Most of the missions are launched from this site in China.
China launched the first Yaogan series (remote sensing) satellite, Yaogan-1, in 2006. This year’s launch marks the 357th flight for the Long March 4C carrier rocket.