Chinese Long March 11 Launches Five Satellites and a Canadian CubeSat

A Chinese Long March 11 launch vehicle has successfully deployed a cluster of small satellites into orbit. The solid-propellant Long March rocket lifted off from Jiuquan Launch Centre in the Gobi Desert at 04:10 GMT (12:10 local time) on January 19.

Long March 11 Launches Cluster of Satellites 1.
Long March 11 Launches Cluster of Satellites 2.
Long March 11 Launches Cluster of Satellites 3.
The cluster of satellites aboard the Long March 11 launch vehicle this morning included two Jilin-1 Earth observation satellites. The two latest Jilin-1 satellites will join a constellation of six already in orbit. The last three satellites of the constellation were launched aboard a Long March 6 in November 2017. The Jilin-1 satellites are developed by Chang Guang Satellite and enable, among other things high-resolution imaging and video.

An additional three satellites were launched for private Chinese companies. Xiaoxiang-2 and Yizhuang Quantutong-1 were developed by the TianYi Research Institute (also known as SPACETY). The satellites carried a number of experimental technologies aboard and are being used to verify the technology in orbit. The third satellite was a 2kg nano-satellite that was developed in conjunction with Chinese primary and middle school students.

Finally, the sixth satellite aboard the Long March 11 was a CubeSat for Canadian telecommunications startup, Kepler Communications. The company received $5.5 million in funding in 2015 and hope to launch a global constellation of telecommunications CubeSats in the coming years.

While many providers have yet to kick off their 2018 launch calendar, China has already launched four Long March rockets in the first three weeks of 2018. The country’s first three launches lifted off with just six days of each other from 8 to 13 January. China will look to maintain their frenetic launch schedule with a reported 40+ missions planned for liftoff from various launch facilities this year.

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.