China has launched the first orbital mission from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center for 2020. Also known as Base 25, the Taiyuan launch facility is located in an isolated mountainous area northwest of the Shanxi province in China approximately 1,700 meters above sea level.
The Long March 2D was launched at 02:53 UTC this morning (Jan. 15). Following a successful launch, Chinese officials confirmed that a total of four payloads had been deployed into their designated orbits.
The rocket carried the Jilin-1 Kuanfu-01 remote sensing satellite, the Tianqi-5 communications satellite, and two ÑuSat Earth observation satellites for Argentinian operator Satellogic.
Developed by Chang Guang Satellite Technology Co., the Jilin-1 Kuanfu-01 is a next-generation remote sensing satellite. It is reportedly capable of “resolution at the sub-meter level” and “super-wide coverage”. Additionally, the satellite is equipped with high-speed data and storage transmission capabilities. The Jilin-1 Kuanfu-01 satellite will join the current fleet of 15 Jilin satellites to provide remote sensing services to both commercial and state users.
The Kuanfu-01 communications satellite is the fifth addition to the ominously named “Apocalypse Constellation”. Rather disappointingly given the name, the constellation simply provides coverage for terrestrial network coverage blind areas. This coverage is largely required in marine environmental protection, geological emergency, and forestry monitoring.
In addition to the two Chinese satellites, the Long March 2D carried two Satellogic ÑuSat Earth observation satellites. The ÑuSat 7 and 8 satellites are the latest additions of the company’s Aleph-1 constellation. The two satellites were nicknamed Sophie and Maria (after French mathematician Sophie Germain and Marie Curie, a pioneer in practical applications of radioactivity).