Early Friday (May 7), a Long March 2C rocket launched two optical remote sensing satellites into the orbit to provide commercial remote sensing imagery. At 12:11 a.m. on April 29, the Long March 2C launched the Siwei-01 and 02 satellites into their intended sun-synchronous orbits from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center facility in the Gobi Desert.
The duo was eventually discovered in 486 x 502-kilometer orbits inclined by 97 degrees by US space surveillance. The satellites, also dubbed Superview Neo-1 01 and 02, will transmit 0.5-meter resolution optical imaging and weigh roughly 540 kg apiece.
According to Chinese media, the satellites will deliver commercial remote sensing data services to conventional satellite data customers such as natural resources, surveying, and mapping, maritime and environmental protection, as well as developing markets such as urban security, digital rural development, and smart agriculture, and transportation.
The China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), a significant division of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the country’s premier space contractor and massive state-owned defense corporation, created the pair.
China Siwei Surveying and Mapping Technology Co., Ltd, the satellite operator, is also a CASC affiliate. In addition, the business runs two sets of co-planar “Gaojing” or Superview satellites, which were deployed in December 2016 and January 2018, respectively, and give panchromatic 0.5-meter resolution pictures.
Changguang Satellite Technology is a commercial Earth observation company based in China. The Changchun-based remote sensing constellation operator is a well-funded spinoff from CIOMP at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and has launched more than 30 Jilin-1 class optical and video satellites with a panchromatic resolution of roughly 0.70 meters.
The launch on Friday is China’s 12th in 2022, with more than 50 planned by CASC. Commercial actors like Galactic Energy, Landspace, Expace, and others are expected to participate in the launch.
Weather forced the cancellation of an April 29 deployment of a Long March 11 solid rocket from a site in the East China Sea. A new effort is scheduled for early April 30 (UTC). The rocket will fly above Taiwan, with the spent stages falling into the waters. It will likely launch new Jilin-1 satellites into the orbit.
China has built infrastructure in Haiyang, Shandong, to facilitate launches from the sea. The capabilities could help relieve overcrowding at those other national spaceports and prevent debris that falls near populated areas after inland launches.