China sent new military satellites to orbit Wednesday (Nov. 3) for an undisclosed mission, following a lengthy launch delay.
State media reported the second cluster of Yaogan-32 satellites flew to space from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center near the Gobi Desert at 3:43 a.m. EDT (0743 GMT or 3:43 p.m. local time.)
"Entering the scheduled orbit, the launch mission was a complete success," said the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) in mission report machine-translated into English.
The satellites went to orbit aboard a Long March 2C rocket, the same booster type that launched the previous set of Yaogan-32 satellites to space in 2018. At the time, state media provider Xinhua said the satellites would be "used for electromagnetic environment surveys and other related technology tests," according to NASASpaceflight.com.
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State media had much the same description for the new set of satellites launching to space, with Space China saying the Yaogan-32 series would "carry out electromagnetic environment detection and related technical tests." Xinhua's short news report, though, did not have a description of the mission.
The mission was originally set to launch in mid-September, but was delayed for undisclosed reasons.
China operates its space program independently of other countries and has a tradition of only mentioning launches after the fact. In recent months, the country has come under criticism from senior NASA leadership for its activities in space, including allowing a large rocket to fall uncontrolled from orbit. (No one, ultimately, was injured.)
Last week, China reported it had set a new record of orbital launches in 2021, with 40 missions put into space.
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