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China launches remote sensing satellites

August 31, 2015

Scientists in China have just launched a remote sensing satellite from the LC9 launch complex at the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre (TSLC) in the northern province of Shanxi, Nasa Space Flight reports.

According to the Chinese media, the Yaogan-27 satellite is "a new remote sensing bird that will be used for scientific experiments, land survey, crop yield assessment, and disaster monitoring."

However, the article highlights suspicions among western analysts that it could also be used for military purposes, as with previous launches from the Yaogan Weixing series.

The satellite itself, constructed by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST), is thought to be the fifth electro-optical, third generation satellite fitted out with a high-resolution wide-angle observation system. It operates on a standard 1,200×1,200 km x 100.3 degree SSO orbit.

Yaogan-27 was launched using a Long March-4c rocket, making it the 207th mission for the Long March rocket series and the 220th Chinese orbital launch. The event also marked the 53rd successful launch from the TSLC, and the 4th orbital launch for China in 2015.

The Latin American Herald Tribune also reported on China's plans to launch a remote sensing satellite for commercial use this October, in a similar vein to those used by Google Maps and Google Earth.

The Jilin-1 satellite will orbit two satellites for videos, one for photographs and another for testing new space technology, explained Xuan Ming, board chairman of Chang Guang Satellite Technology Co Ltd.

Their main purpose will be sending photos to commercial clients, assessing harvests, preventing geological disasters and conducting surveys.

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