Gaofen-13 GEO Earth Observation satellite is launched by Long March 3B

by | Oct 12, 2020 | China, Launches, Satellites

A Long March 3B-G3 (CZ-3B/G3) launch vehicle successfully launched itself from the Xichang launch site in China at 1657 GMT on 11 October 2020. The Gaofen-13 spacecraft carried on the flight is an Earth Observation satellite which has been surprisingly been launched on its way to a 36,000 km geostationary Earth orbit (GEO) rather than a more usual (and much closer) 650 km Sun-synchronous low Earth orbit.  While the resolution is much lower at that height, the observation of an area on Earth is continuous rather than just a “snapshot” a couple of times per day. Officially the spacecraft is to be used for land and crop yield survey and for weather and other civilian uses. There may also be a military use but these have not been admitted.

Image of core and boosters of Long March 3B/G3 launching Gaofen 13. Courtesy: Xinhua



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