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China launches four commercial sensing satellites

Long March 2D rocket took off from Taiyuan

The Long March CZ-2D took off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center

China launched a Long March-2D carrier rocket n° Y90 on Thursday, March 30, 2023, to place PIESAT-1 (or Hongtu-1, 宏图一号, Hóngtú Yī Hào) remote sensing satellites into orbit . in orbit. The rocket lifted off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Shanxi Province at 10:50 UTC (6:50 pm Beijing time), and its upper stage entered the predetermined orbit.

four satellites in assembly

PIESAT-1, four X-band interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) satellites, will provide commercial remote sensing data services. They are components of the first group of the constellation of thirty-eight satellites, to be called Nuwa-1. The quartet includes a main satellite of 320 kg and the remaining three, of 270 kg each, are subsatellites, all in formation flight and operating in very long baseline interferometry in a sun-synchronous orbit of 528 km high. The optical equipment has a maximum resolution of 0.5 to 5 meters, with accuracy for monitoring the movement of the Earth's crust of up to 3 to 5 mm/year and is capable of carrying out land surveys for maps at a scale of 1:50,000.

According to official Chinese media, this mission was the 469th flight of the rockets named Long March. The CZ-2D rocket was developed by the Eighth Academy of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation

The configuration of the four spacecrafts in orbit in interconnected operation

The Long March 2D (referred to as CZ-2D or Chang Zheng 2D) is a type of space rocket developed by China in February 1990. It was first launched on August 9, 1992 and sent a returnable scientific test satellite. The rocket is based on the Long March 4A without the third stage, to become a two-stage launcher. The layout of the Long March 2D is basically the same as the first and second stages of the CZ-4 series. In 2000, the Long March 2 D-02 rocket batch project was inaugurated and its reliability index was increased from 0.95 to 0.97. The CZ-2D has a total length (without fairing): 33.667 meters; (41.05 meters with the hood installed); maximum diameter: 3.35 meters; take-off mass: 236,966 tons; and takeoff thrust of 2,961.6 kN (301,999.1 kgf). Thrust-to-weight ratio: 1.28; payload capacity: about 3,100 kg in 175 x 355 km, elliptical orbit with 63 degree inclination; Accuracy: orbital inclination deviation of 0.2 degrees, perigee altitude deviation of 5 km, perigee argument deviation of 5 degrees, and ascending node longitude deviation of 0.1 degrees.