Chinese conducted two space launches in less than two days

On September 12 and 14, 2015, Chinese successfully launched Long March 3B and Long March 2D rockets carrying test Ka-band communications and Gaofen 9 Earth observation satellites, respectively, from Xichang and Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centers.

According to Xinhua News, the former experimental satellite will be used to perform tests on technologies of Ka-band broadband communications from its geostationary orbit position. An unofficial source claimed this spacecraft was named Communications Engineering Test Satellite -1 (TXJSSY-1).

Despite official statements, circling rumors referred the orbited satellite to the first Great Wall (Changcheng) satellite – a new series of Chinese satellites dedicated to early warning, similar to the US Space Based Infra-Red Sensor satellites.

ChinaSpaceflight informs that the launch was the 64th mission for Long March 3 series of rockets, and 208th launch for Long March rocket family overall.

On the 209th launch of Long March rocket family, Gaofen-9, the most sophisticated Earth observation satellite and a part of China's high-definition Earth observation project, was launched from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the north-western province of Gansu.

The optical remote sensing satellite is capable of providing photographs with a resolution of less than a meter. It will be used in land survey, urban planning, road network design, agriculture, and disaster relief. Developed by Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology, Gaofen-9 can also serve key national strategies such as the Belt and Road Initiative and national defense.

Launch of Long March 2D with Gaofen 9. Credit: China Spaceflight
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Talking about Earth observation technologies in China, it is worth to note the recent announcement of DFH Satellite Corporation, commercial satellite branch of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), that it has secured contract from the Chinese government for GF-1 (Gaofen-1) follow-on satellites.

GF-1 satellite was launched on April 26, 2013. It carried two 2m panchromatic/ 8m multispectral high-resolution cameras, and four 16m resolution wide-angle cameras. The major user of GF-1 and GF-1 follow-on will be Ministry of Land and Resources. The satellite will be used for land resource inquisition, evaluation and dynamic supervision, resource utilization, environmental disaster inspection and city construction.

Gaofen-1 Earth observation satellite. Credit: chinanews.com
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