A Long March 4C (CZ-4C) rocket lifted off from the Jiuquan launch site in North West China to launch the Gaofen 12 (02) high resolution Earth observation satellite into orbit at 2245 GMT on 30 March. The spacecraft was placed into a circa 600 km near polar sun-synchronous low Earth orbit. Built by the Shanghai-based SAST the satellite might have a dual military and civilian use. Officially, China has never launched a military satellite and describes this as to be used for land surveys, urban and road planning, crop yield tracking and disaster relief which is more indicative of a low to medium resolution satellite. However, Western analysts believe this one to have a ground resolution of less than 0.5 m.
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