China has successfully launched a remote sensing satellite to be used for experiments, land survey and disaster relief. Yaogan-29 was carried by Long March-4C rocket after it was launched from Taiyuan launch site in Shanxi Province, north China on Nov. 26 at 4:24 p.m. EST (21:24 GMT).
The remote sensing satellite is designed to cover areas in China for scientific experiments, land surveys, crop yield estimates and disaster relief monitoring. Designed and built by Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST), the satellite is a radar imaging platform.
However, western space experts claim that the newest Chinese satellite launched was a cover for military satellites. Debris from the rocket fell in Hubei province in central China but no injuries or damage to property was reported.
This is the 219th mission for the Long March rocket family and the 18th flight of Long March-4C rocket. In 2006, China launched Yaogan-1, the first 'Yaogan' satellite series.
Unlike other Chinese satellite launches, the remote sensing satellite launch was performed without prior notice from the authorities. It was deemed successful as it reached its target Sun-synchronous orbit (SSO) at about 382 miles above Earth at an inclination of 97.8 degrees.
In Nov. 8, China launched Yaogan Weixing-28 from the same launch site and carried by the Long March-4B rocket. This is also a remote sensing satellite that is also utilized in the same way as Yaogan-29 satellite's purpose. It will be used also for scientific experiments, land survey, crop yield assessment, and disaster monitoring.
China plans to launch two more satellites in December. Gaofen 4 Earth observation satellite will be carried by Long March 3B rocket from Xichang launch center while DAMPE (Dark Matter Particle Explorer), a satellite developed to measure high-energy particles in space, will be launched through Long March 2D rocket from Jiuquan, China.
The exact date of the two other launches is yet to be determined. China is known for 'surprise' satellite launches in the past.
As of November, China has successfully launched 16 missions into orbit in 2015. However, Russia and the United States have launched more satellites with 22 and 18 successfully anchored into orbit this year, respectively.