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China launches new remote sensing satellite

A new remote sensing satellite

HONG KONG (BNS): China continues to put more satellites into orbit. The Chang Zheng-2D rocket blasted off from the Jiuquan Launch Center on Monday carrying a new remote sensing satellite named Yaogan-4.

China reveals little about its space programme but the state media reported that Yaogan 4 would be used for scientific research, land resource surveying, crop yield estimate and disaster prevention. Reports claimed that the satellite, developed by China Academy of Space Technology, was aimed at contributing to the economic growth of the country.

Hiding behind the stated purposes could be possible use of the satellite for military purposes. The international community is curious to find out if the Chinese space programme was strictly restricted to peaceful use of outer space.

The first of Yaogan satellite went up from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center on April 27, 2006 and its purpose was never made public. The Chinese space agency had only claimed that it was equipped with first space based Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Jian Bing-3.

Yaogan-2 came on the scene in May, 2007 when it was launched by CZ-2D Chang Zheng-2D rocket. Unofficial sources had claimed that it could be an optical observation satellite.

The third edition of Yaogan was said to be a second SAR satellite and the fourth was the second version of the optical oservation satellite.

With the mission, the Chinese space agency has also perfected the CZ-2D Long March 2D launch vehicle which is a two-stage rocket developed by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology. It has been used to launch a variety of low earth orbit satellites.

The CZ-2D rockets have been in use since 1992 when it was first launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

The latest was 114th orbital launch by China and 40th from the Jiuquan satellite launch center. This year, it was the third launch.

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