The booster, Long March 11 launched five commercial satellites into orbit. The flight took off on Thursday, April 26, 2018. The satellites carry hyperspectral imaging and video sensors that will capture a large part of the earth.
These satellites are part of the Chinese Zhuhai 1 constellation that is created to survey natural resources, plants, cities, and other features. Zhuhai intends to launch 34 satellites in the next few years.
The booster launched from the Jiuquan in the northwestern part of the Gobi Desert. The Long March 11 booster which is 28 feet tall took off 04:42 GMT.
In a post-launch statement, the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology simply called CALT confirmed that the launch was successful.
There were no indications of the impending launch except for a publication warning to pilots to avoid drop zones. The Long March 11 is one of the newest addition to China’s fleet of boosters. This flight is the fourth trip embarked by the booster.
The booster embarked on its first trip in September 2015. However, the launch is China’s 12th space launch in 2018. The Zhuhai satellites each weighs between 80 to 100 kilograms during launch.
The satellites will provide hyperspectral images of the earth every five days. The satellites were not the only space devices aboard the Long March 11 during the launch on Thursday.
The launch vehicle also carried a video imaging craft that weighs 90 kilograms. The device is called OVS-2. The video imaging craft has a resolution of 90 centimetres. The craft can capture images which are 22.5 kilometres wide.
The company launched two of the satellites in 2017. These satellites were the first two in the constellation, and they launched via Long March 4B rocket.
There are scheduled to launch five of the Zhuhai 1 satellites in the second half of this year. Other Long March rockets will launch these satellites.
The Long March launch vehicles operated by the Chinese are developed and designed under the management of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology. These rockets are named after China’s communist history.
The first Long March rocket, Long March 1, was launched in 1970. There have rockets named from Long March 1 to Long March 11. However, there was no Long March 10. The Long March 11 uses China’s largest solid-fuel engines. They used this engine to enable the rocket to respond well even in cases of emergency launches.