China successfully launched three new military surveillance satellites into orbit on a Long March 2C rocket today (March 24).
Topped with three Yaogan-30 Group 6 surveillance satellites for the Chinese military, the rocket lifted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China's Sichuan province at 11:43 a.m. local time (0343 GMT; 11:43 p.m. EDT on March 23).
The three satellites "will be used for electromagnetic environment detection and related technological tests," China's state-run news outlet CCTV reported. The will join China's Chuangxin-5 satellite constellation, which now consists of 18 Yaogan satellites that have been launching in batches of three since the first trio launched in 2017.
Today's launch comes on the heels of a launch failure. On March 16, China's Long March 7A rocket failed to launch a classified satellite into orbit. It was the debut launch for the new Long March 7A.
Although China has been one of the epicenters of the global coronavirus pandemic, the country has continued to launch rockets throughout the outbreak — while making sure its engineers and other launch staff are properly protected in a quarantined environment.
- Heads up! Chinese rocket debris crashes back to Earth after recent launch
- China's Mars mission likely still on track for July launch despite coronavirus outbreak
- Satellite track emissions drop over China, Italy during coronavirus outbreak
All About Space magazine takes you on an awe-inspiring journey through our solar system and beyond, from the amazing technology and spacecraft that enables humanity to venture into orbit, to the complexities of space science.