Another satellite that China apparently describes as purely peaceful in purpose has been launched from the Jiuquan launch site by a Long March 2D/2 at 2314 GMT on 11 November 2016. The spacecraft, which is thought to be sized in the 1,000-1,500 kg range is called Yunhai-1. Little is known of the spacecraft except that it has been placed into a new polar sun-synchronous orbit.
Western analysts speculate that Yunhai-1 (which means Cloud-Sea in English) may be using a signal occultation technique to measure cloud cover. Given the dearth of information on the spacecraft analysts also speculate that the spacecraft has other applications, military in nature.
Comment by David Todd: China is famous/infamous for never admitting that any of its launched spacecraft have military use. Usually, the often less than believable, official announcements on Xinhua (China’s official news agency) emphasise the peaceful uses of such spacecraft noting that they are usually being used for “monitoring crops”, or “providing disaster relief” or in this case, “observation of atmospheric, marine and space environment, disaster prevention and mitigation, and scientific experiments”.
The Yunhai-1 spacecraft may well be civilian in nature. But then again it might not.