China launches Long March 2D/2 carrying three Yaogan 36 Group 3 suspected reconnaissance/SIGINT satellites

by | Nov 28, 2022 | China, Launches, Military space, Satellites

China successfully launched a Long March 2D/2 (CZ-2D/2) from Xichang Satellite Launch Centre, China at 1223 GMT on 27 November. The launch vehicle was carrying the Yaogan 36 Group 3 (Yaogan 36-03-A, -B and -C). Earlier Yaogan 36 groups were reconnaissance satellites (two optical and one radar albeit) albeit with a secondary SIGINT (Signals Intelligence) role akin to the US NOSS satellite system. Yaogan 36 satellites are believed to be equipped with a solar thin foil sail, angling the sail to move around, including getting velocity changes, and providing a deorbit capability.

Note that China has never formally admitted having military spacecraft. The satellites were launched into a 500 x 490 km orbit at 35.0 degrees relative to the equator (thanks to Jonathan McDowell for this initial orbit report).

Jonathan Freeman contributed to this report.

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