China Launches Earth Observation Satellite

by | Nov 11, 2021 | Daily Space, Rockets, Spacecraft | 0 comments

China Launches Earth Observation Satellite
IMAGE: The Long March 6 rocket ignited into the air. CREDIT: Zheng Bin

On November 5 at 02:19 UTC, a Chinese Long March 6 launched the SDGSAT-1 Earth observation satellite into a sun-synchronous orbit from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in China. 

SDGSAT-1, also called Guangmu or “Wide Eye”, is an earth science satellite developed to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, according to the Xi’an Aerospace Power Research Institute. It has three instruments: a thermal infrared sensor, a low light sensor, and a multispectral imager with a swath width of 300 kilometers. This impressive imager gives it the ability to record the entire Earth every eleven days, looking for signs of human impact on the environment in support of the goals.

The Long March 6 is a relatively new Chinese rocket, and this was only its eighth launch since its first launch in 2015. The Long March 6 is the smallest member of the new generation of Long March rockets which includes the Long March 5, 6, 7, and 8. These newer rockets are designed to use nontoxic and higher performing Rocket Propellant 1 (RP-1) and Liquid Oxygen (LOX) in all stages instead of the very stable but super toxic Unsymmetrical Dimethyl Hydrazine and Nitrogen Tetroxide. RP-1 and LOX require special handling both on the ground and in the rocket to prevent problems, like the oxygen boiling off and the pressure rupturing the rocket’s tank. The Long March 6 can put up to 1,080 kilograms into a sun-synchronous orbit.

More Information

Xi’an Aerospace press release (Chinese)

Long March-6 info page (Gunter’s Space Page)

Launch video


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