China successfully launched a Long March 3B (CZ-3B) vehicle carrying the Gaofen 14 Earth imaging satellite into a Sun-synchronous low Earth orbit at 0358 GMT on 6 December 2020. The launch took place from the LC3 launch complex at the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre. Mystery surrounds the use of the very powerful Long March 3B rocket used for this mission which is more normally used to launch satellites into geosynchronous transfer orbits. Consequently, it has been assumed by Western space analysts that the Gaofen 14 spacecraft might be especially large. Alternatively, it maybe that China is looking for alternative roles for the Long March 3B series now that the Long March 5 is taking over the bulk of its geosynchronous workload. The version of the Long March 3B is a new G5 version which is reported to feature a longer fairing than the standard version.
China launches Gaofen 14 satellite…but mystery surrounds the use of powerful Long March 3B to do it
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