China’s Gaofen-5 Earth observation satellite has been successfully launched into orbit aboard a Long March 4C rocket. The launch was China’s 14th successful mission of 2018, a staggering achievement.
The Long March 4C launched at 18:28 UTC on 8 May (02:28 local time on 9 May) from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Shanxi Province in northern China. Following a successful launch, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) confirmed that the satellite had entered its 98-degree Sun-synchronous orbit and was operating nominally.
Once operational, the Gaofen-5 satellite will form part of the China High-resolution Earth Observation System (CHEOS) fleet. CHEOS is a network of multi-spectrum imaging and synthetic aperture radar satellites.
The launch was China’s second addition to the CHEOS fleet this year with three Gaofen-1 satellites launched in late March. The Gaofen-6 satellite is expected to be launched later this year
A second Long March 4C launch is scheduled for later this month. The launch will deploy the Queqiao Chang’e-4 lunar relay satellite in preparation for the country’s Chang’e-4 lunar lander mission. The recently named satellite will be vital to ensure that operators on Earth can communicate with the lander on the far side of the moon.
Image Credit: CASC