China launched a new radar remote sensing satellite for environmental monitoring on Tuesday (Aug. 8).
A Long March 2C rocket lifted off from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Shanxi Province, north China, at 6:53 p.m. EDT on Tuesday (2253 GMT; 6:53 a.m. on Aug. 9 Beijing Time).
The successful launch carried the Huanjing Jianzai-2F, or S-SAR02, synthetic aperture radar satellite for emergency management and environment monitoring, according to China's space authorities.
The satellite entered into a sun-synchronous orbit, meaning the it orbits over the poles and passes over the same region of Earth's surface at roughly the same local solar time during each pass.
S-SAR02 will form an in-orbit network with S-SAR01, which launched in October 2022. Both carry large deployable truss antennas and operate in the S-band, or the microwave portion of the electromagnetic spectrum which space frequencies from 2 to 4 gigahertz. The satellites are able to produce images even during cloudy and rainy weather, filling gaps in the coverage of optical satellites.
Together, the duo will form a preliminary satellite constellation for disaster mitigation, according to Chinese state media outlet Xinhua. Both the S-SAR01 and S-SAR02 satellites launched at 2253 GMT on their respective launch days.
The satellite was built by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), the main spacecraft maker under China's state-owned main space contractor, CASC. The Long March 2C rocket was also made by CASC.
The launch was China's 33rd of the year. CASC says it plans to launch more than 200 spacecraft across 2023.