China Launch Saudi Earth Observation Satellites

China launch their 35th orbital mission of 2018 deploying the SaudiSat-5A and 5B satellites and several microsatellites.
A Long March 2D lifts off from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre on December 7, 2018. The launch deployed the SaudiSat-5A and 5B remote sensing satellites and several microsatellites | Image credit: CALT

China has launched two Earth observation satellites for Saudi Arabia. The launch was China’s 35th of 2018 with the 36th currently scheduled to liftoff later today.

The Long March 2D launched from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the Gobi Desert at 04:00 UTC (12:10 local time) this morning.

Although there has been no official statement regarding the payload as yet, the primary payload was almost certainly the SaudiSat-5A and 5B remote sensing satellites. Additionally, it is believed that there were a number of microsatellites launched with the primary payload on behalf of commercial satellite makers.

China is expected to launch again today this time from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. The launch will deploy the Chang’e 4 lunar mission aboard a Long March 3B/E.

The Chang’e 4 lunar mission is comprised of an orbiter, lander and rover. The trio’s primary mission is expected to last 12 months. However, in June it was revealed that the county is still receiving data from the Chang’e 3 lander. The latest additions could, as a result, remain operational long past their 1-year primary mission.

Andrew Parsonson is a space enthusiast and the founder of Rocket Rundown. He has worked as a journalist and blogger for various industries for over 5 years and has a passion for both fictional and real-life space travel. Currently, Andrew is the primary writer for Rocket Rundown as we look to expand our reach and credibility.