- China launches the latest group of Yaogan 35 (remote sensing) spy satellites.
- Three classified remote sensing satellites that are launched are joining three earlier sets of Yaogan 35 series satellites in orbit.
China launched three classified remote sensing satellites on Friday (19th Aug 2022). These satellites join three earlier sets of Yaogan 35 series reconnaissance satellites in orbit.
On 19th Aug, a Long March 2D rocket lifted off at 1:37 p.m. EDT (1737 GMT, 1:37 a.m. local time) from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province carrying the three satellites designated as the Yaogan 35 (04 group).
The trio will probably join the three sets of Yaogan 35 satellite triplets sent into orbit by three similar launches in November 2021, June 2022, and July 2022. The first nine satellites are now orbiting at approximately 310 miles (500 kilometers) above Earth, with an inclination of 35 degrees to provide regular, repeated passes over areas of interest.
Most Yaogan (“remote sensing”) satellites are little known, and descriptions of their uses are typically unclear.
Chinese state media stated that the recently launched spacecraft would be mainly used to conduct science experiments, yield estimation of agricultural products, land resource surveys, and disaster prevention and reduction.
However, Western space analysts suggest that China’s Yaogan series satellites serve civil and military users.
A mission patch released by SAST, the manufacturer that provided the Long March 2D rocket for the launch, indicates that the payload adapter of the mission, which serves as an interface between a rocket stage and the spacecraft being sent into orbit, carries a drag sail designed to help deorbit the approximately 660-pound (300 kilograms) adapter much sooner than it otherwise would.
In June, SAST debuted the drag sail on another Long March 2D launch from Xichang. The mission was China’s 32nd orbital launch of 2022.
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