China has launched another in its series of Gaofen Earth observation satellites as it continues building out its space infrastructure.
A Long March 4C rocket lifted off from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China at 11:46 a.m. EDT June 27 (1546 GMT, 11:46 p.m. Beijing time), according (opens in new tab) to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).
The mission payload, Gaofen 12 (03), is now in a near-polar orbit with an average altitude of 390 miles (628 kilometers), very similar to that of the previous two Gaofen 12 satellites, launched in 2019 and 2021.
Little is known about the satellite and its instruments. It is described as a microwave remote sensing satellite by CASC and will, according to Chinese state media, be used in a variety of fields including land surveys, urban planning, road network design, crop yield estimation and disaster relief.
The new satellite joins other Gaofen ("high resolution") remote sensing satellites, including optical and radar satellites, in the China High-resolution Earth Observation System (CHEOS).
The launch was China's 22nd of the year, with the country planning more than 50 missions in 2022.