Long March 11 launches pair of GECAM satellites to detect gravitational waves via X-ray and Gamma ray sources

by | Dec 10, 2020 | China, Launches, Satellites, Science, Seradata News

A Long March 11 (CZ-11) rocket successfully launched a pair of GECAM (Gravitational Wave High-energy Electromagnetic Counterpart All-Sky Monitor) satellites to low Earth orbit (LEO) from the Xichang Satellite Center, China, at 2015 GMT on 9 December 2020.  The two gamma-ray and charged particle detector equipped satellites are astronomical spacecraft designed to study X-ray and gamma-ray sources as evidence of gravitational wave events.

The spacecraft, which will be positioned at opposite sides of their orbit around the Earth to cover all the sky, are built by the Institute of High Energy Physics (IHEP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), with the National Space Science Center (NSSC) is responsible for the development and construction of the general engineering and ground support system. The Institute of Microsatellite Innovation is responsible for the development of satellite systems and high-energy physics research. The Long March 11 carrier rocket used for this launch was developed and produced by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.

Artist’s impression of GECAM spacecraft pair – albeit too close to be in their operational positions at the other end of the Earth from each other. Courtesy: NSSC

 

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