Early this morning, China launched two orbital missions within three hours of one another. The two missions were launched less than 1,500 kilometers from each other and deployed a total of six remote sensing satellites into orbit.
The first of the two missions was launched aboard a Kuaizhou-1A from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China at 03:40 UTC. The rocket carried the Jilin-1 Gaofen 02A remote sensing satellite. The next-generation optical remote sensing satellite was developed by Chang Guang Satellite Technology Co. and features high-resolution imaging and high-speed data transmission payloads.
Just under three hours later, a Long March 6 blasted off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center approximately 1,500 kilometers east of Jiuquan. The launch was the 318th aboard a Long March rocket and carried five Ningxia-1 remote sensing satellites. The satellites were built by DFH Satellite Co and will be operated by Ningxia Jingui Information Technology.
With the second successful launch this morning, China surpassed the United States to complete its 24th orbital mission of 2019.
China has another 14 orbital missions planned for the remainder of 2019. If the country manages to hit that target with a flawless success rate, they will equal their record-breaking 2018 benchmark of 38 orbital launches.