Chinese space agency CNSA managed to deliver to orbit three Jilin-1 spacecrafts today. Launch was performed at 04:50 UTC from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center.
Satellites were developed in the Jilin province authorities for natural resources monitoring, general observation and natural disaster relief. Jilin constellation is also first commercial Chinese project covering launching number of remote sensing satellites operating globally and offering data for commercial customers. With first satellites launched in 2015, last satellite is planned to be delivered to orbit in 2030. In that year 138 Jilin satellites will cover with its range whole Earth with 10 minute revisit time and live video broadcast ability.
It is worth to mention that Chang Guang Satellite Technology Ltd., Company which is operating Jilin constellation, received funding from Jilin province authorities for development. In this way Jilin province became one of the first local government access to own remote sensing satellites.
For Long March 6 it was second mission after maiden flight performed on September 19, 2015 also from same LC-16 launch site at Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center. Today rocket flawlessly delivered all three passengers to an orbit of 530 km by 542 km at an inclination of 97.5 deg.
Long March 6 is based on two stages liquid fueled rocket, smallest in the Long March family. It was designed in 2000s by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation and the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology. It is long for 29 m with diameter of 3.35m and mass of 103 t. It is able to deliver to 700 km SSO orbit 1080 kg of payload. First stage is powered by single YF-100 engine providing 1188 kN of thrust burning RP1/LOX propellant. Second stage is narrowed comparing to first stage – it is 2.25 m wide with single YF-115 engine fueled also by RP1/LOX and generating 180 kN. Third stage is optional and fueled with UDMH / N2O4 with capability of multiple burns on orbit. Rocket is equipped with two-axis gimbaling of the engine for pitch and yaw control. For roll control rocket uses 1 kN thrusters fueled with Hydrogen Peroxide and Kerosene.