China has successfully launched the Zhangheng-1, a joint venture between the China National Space Administration (CNSA) and the Italian Space Agency (ASI). Today’s launch also included six CubeSats for Denmark, the European Space Agency (ESA), a youth space project and companies Linkspace and Satellogic.
The Long March 2D lifted off at 07:51 GMT (15:51 local time) from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the Gobi Desert. Today’s launch was the second Long March 2D mission of 2018. On January 9, a pair of SuperView-1 Earth Observation Satellites were successfully deployed from the launch vehicle.
The Zhangheng-1 is an electromagnetic and atmospheric phenomenon monitoring satellite. Also known as the China Seismo-Electromagnetic Satellite (CSES), the satellite is a joint venture between CNSA and ASI. It will be monitored by both Chinese and Italian research institutions and universities with the goal of studying seismic activities. The satellite has an operational lifespan of five years.
In addition to the Zhangheng-1, a number of CubeSats were launched aboard the Long March 2D this morning. The first was a pair of CubeSats for the ESA and the Danish government designated GomX-4B and Danish GomX-4A. The pair will test propulsion technologies and intersatellite communication while orbiting the Earth.
Companies Linkspace and Satellogic launched one and two CubeSats respectively. The Linkspace Fengmaniu-1 will test optical components for the Chinese launch provider hoping to enter the reusable vehicle space alongside SpaceX. ÑuSat-4 and ÑuSat-5 are the fourth and fifth satellites launched in aid of Satellogic’s Aleph-1 commercial Earth observation constellation. The company hopes to launch a total of 25 small satellites to complete the Aleph-1 constellation.
The seventh and last payload to hitch a ride on the Chinese Long March 2D this morning was a 2-Unit CubeSat known as Shaonian Xing. Roughly translated to ‘Youth Sat’, it was built in conjunction with China’s Teen Satellite Project. The project received of 100,000 ideas from thousands of schools across the country. The Shaonian Xing is the realisation of a number of those ideas and was built by Beijing-based Commsat.
Image Credit: CNS