China’s second launch of the year puts radar satellite into orbit


On Tuesday, January 25, China launched the first of a pair of radar satellites that will provide important geological data following earthquakes and landslides.

A Long March 4C lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert at 6:44 p.m. EST on January 25 (23:44 GMT or 07:44 local time on January 26).

Insulation tiles, designed to keep the rocket’s hypergolic fuel within the optimum temperature range during the cold desert winter, moved away from the launch vehicle as it rose through the night sky.

Video: China Launches Earth Observation Satellite – See Rocket Hangar Tiles in Slow Motion!
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A Long March 4C takes off from Jiuquan carrying the L-SAR 01A satellite. (Image credit: CNSA)

On board was the L-SAR 01A satellite, equipped with an L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), which will be used to monitor the geological environment, landslides and earthquakes. It sits in a 98-degree near-polar orbit with an altitude of about 373 miles (600 kilometers).

Radar observations from space have the advantage of being able to see through clouds. L-band is a range of radar wavelengths that are useful for penetrating vegetation, such as forests, and making observations of soil and rocks.

L-SAR 01 is the first of a group of two satellites. L-SAR 01B will be launched in late February, according to the National Space Administration of China.

The L-SAR 01 satellite during testing. (Image credit: SAST)

The pair of satellites will fly in formation and provide geologic information after seismic events such as earthquakes, volcanic activity and landslides and aid relief efforts. The satellites will also carry out large-scale topographic surveys.

The satellite’s developer, the state-owned Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST), declared that the L-SAR 01 satellites will contribute to the achievement of global goals such as sustainable development.

China has increased its launch rate in recent years and launched more than any other country last year with 55 launches. This means there is more pressure on the country’s launch centers.

A Long March 4C takes off from Jiuquan carrying the L-SAR 01A satellite. (Image credit: CNSA)

Zhai Wenjiang, head of the ground station at China’s Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert, told Chinese media that the launch center has improved its information technology over the past year.

“We managed space station missions and satellite launch missions simultaneously last year. Faced with a multitude of launch missions and higher requirements, we spared no effort to solve key problems, conducted research and development for information technology,” Zhai said. CCTV+.

The launch was China’s second orbital mission of 2022, following the Jan. 17 launch of the classified test satellite Shiyan 13. It was the world’s seventh launch of the year, following five successful launches in the United States. .

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