According to recent news by Xinhua, China has successfully launched Yaogan-30 remote sensing satellite into space. The spacecraft lifted off at 10:43 a.m. local time Sunday, May 15 (10:43 p.m. EDT Saturday, May 14) carried by a Long March 2D rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, located in Jiuquan in northwest China’s Gansu Province.
The unannounced launch was confirmed by China’s state-run media about one hour after liftoff when the satellite was already successfully placed into orbit.
Yaogan-30 will be used for experiments, land surveys, crop yield estimates and disaster relief purposes. However, as was the case in previous Yaogan launches, Western analysts believe that the newly-launched spacecraft is fitted with electronic intelligence (ELINT), electro-optical and synthetic aperture radar-sensing equipment to conduct military reconnaissance on a global scale.
There are only a few technical details available about the satellite. China launched the first “Yaogan” series satellite, Yaogan-1, in 2006.
China’s next flight is currently planned for late June when a new version of the Long March booster, the Long March 7, will conduct its maiden flight. It will also be the first launch conducted by the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center, located on the Hainan Island, in southern China. The country plans more than 20 space missions this year.