China launches Earth observation satellite amid border tensions with India

China launches Earth observation satellite amid border tensions with India
Gaofen 13 takes off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China aboard the Long March 3B rocketCASC
  • The Chinese Aerospace and Science Technology Corporation (CASC) has launched a new Earth observation satellite on Sunday.
  • China’s apex space agency has revealed very little about the Gaofen-13 satellite, which will reportedly be a part of the China High-Resolution Earth Observation System (CHEOS) — a civil enterprise.
  • This is China’s 30th launch this year so far, four of which failed.
China launched a new Earth observation satellite called Gaofen-13 amid border tensions with India. The satellite launched aboard the Long March 3B rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center on October 12 at 00:57 am, and very little was revealed about its specifications.

China launches Earth observation satellite amid border tensions with India
Long March 3B rocket ready to launch from the Xichang Satellite Launch CentreCASC

The satellite is a part of the China High-Resolution Earth Observation System (CHEOS). According to China’s apex space agency, its role is to help with land surveys, urban planning, road network design, agriculture and disaster relief.

China launches Earth observation satellite amid border tensions with India
Gaofen 13 takes off CASC

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Even though extensive details were revealed about the earlier satellites in the series, very few details are on record about the Gaofen-13 and Gaofen-11 satellites. Officially, the Yaogan series of satellites, which use similar technology and platforms, fall under the military’s purview for reconnaissance.

China launches Earth observation satellite amid border tensions with India
Long March 3B rocket being assemmbled ahead of launchCASC

Xinchang gets a new look
Gaofen-13’s launch from Xinchang is the first launch for the busiest launch site in the country since July 9. The compound recently underwent renovations to upgrade its launch facilities.

The hope is to increase Xinchang’s launch capacity from around 17 launches a year to 30. Another five to six launches are expected in the fourth quarter.
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The Chinese Aerospace and Science Technology Corporation (CASC) has been busy the last few months, launching satellites even as the coronavirus pandemic raged on.

This was China’s 30th launch of 2020 — four of which failed. In January, China’s space agency stated that it would complete 40 launches this year.

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