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China Just launched a New Earth-Watching Satellite Into Orbit

On Thanksgiving (Nov. 28), China launched another satellite into Earth's orbit, capping off a very busy month for the country.

Gaofen-12, a new Earth observation satellite, flew to space from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in northern China's Shanxi Province, according to state news source Xinhua. The rocket successfully took off at 7:52 a.m. Beijing time on Nov. 28, which is 6:52 p.m. EDT or 2352 GMT Nov. 27.

The satellite launched on a Long March-4C rocket, which marks the 320th flight for this type of rocket. Footage from Chinese television station CCTV showed the rocket flawlessly lifting off into a cloudy sky, flames spitting out from beneath the booster. The footage also shows engineers and other officials closely monitoring the rocket's progress into orbit. "I hereby announce that the launch mission is successful," said an unnamed engineer, according to CCTV's translation.

Related: This Is the 1st Photo of China's Mars Explorer Launching in 2020

Gaofen-12 launches from China on Nov. 28, 2019. (Image credit: China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation)


"As part of the country's high-definition Earth observation project, the microwave remote sensing satellite is capable of providing photographs with a resolution of better than a meter [three feet]," Xinhua added. "Gaofen-12 will be used in land surveys, urban planning, road network design and crop yield estimate, as well as disaster relief."

China's plethora of rocket launches in November included the launch of two boosters from two different rocket centers in less than three hours. Some of the satellite's that have so far been sent into space include remote sensing, navigation and Earth observation capabilities.

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Elizabeth Howell
Elizabeth Howell is a contributing writer for who is one of the few Canadian journalists to report regularly on space exploration. She is pursuing a Ph.D. part-time in aerospace sciences (University of North Dakota) after completing an M.Sc. (space studies) at the same institution. She also holds a bachelor of journalism degree from Carleton University. Besides writing, Elizabeth teaches communications at the university and community college level. To see her latest projects, follow Elizabeth on Twitter at @HowellSpace.