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Dec. 28, 2016
The 1,234-pound-pound (560-kilogram) satellites lifted off at 0323 GMT Wednesday (10:23 p.m. EST Tuesday) from the Taiyuan space center in northern China’s Shanxi province on top of a 13-story Long March 2D rocket, according to China’s state-run Xinhua news agency.
The launch occurred at 11:23 a.m. Beijing time, marking China’s 22nd attempted space launch of the year, and the 21st rocket mission to reach orbit.
China Launches High-resolution Remote Sensing Satellites
Two commercial Earth-imaging satellites launched by a Chinese Long March 2D booster Wednesday are flying in lower-than-planned orbits after an apparent rocket mishap, according to tracking data published by the U.S. military.
The two SuperView 1, or Gaojing 1, satellites are flying in egg-shaped orbits ranging from 133 miles (214 kilometers) to 325 miles (524 kilometers) in altitude at an inclination of 97.6 degrees.
Artist’s concept of Beijing Space View’s planned constellation of optical and radar imaging satellites. The spacecraft illustrated at upper left is one of the SuperView 1 satellites launched Wednesday.
The high-resolution Earth-observing platforms were supposed to go into a near-circular orbit around 300 miles (500 kilometers) above the planet to begin their eight-year missions collecting imagery for Siwei Star Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp., a government-owned entity.
The SuperView 1 satellites are designed to collect optical black-and-white imagery with a resolution of less than 20 inches (about 50 centimeters), making them the highest-resolution civilian Earth-observing satellites launched by China.
SuperView 1 & 2
The satellites can capture imagery in nearly 7.5-mile-wide (12-kilometer) swaths, turning to observe multiple locations on a single pass, or record images of the same point from multiple angles, allowing processors on the ground to generate stereo three-dimensional images.
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Images, Video, Text, Credits: CASC/Beijing Space View/CCTV+/Spaceflight Now/Stephen Clark.