Another espionage trio launched from China

Last Friday, November 24, 2017, China launched their Long March 2C rocket with three Yaogan-30 class satellites under the payload fairing.

Yaogan 30-02-01, Yaogan 30-02-02 and Yaogan 30-02-03 were launched on last Friday form Xichang SLC from LC3 launch complex placed in Sichuan province. Three satellites designed by Chinese Academy of Sciences were lofted by Long March 2C, operating since 1982 successor of the Long March 2A with its origins in DF-5 ICBM. It was 43rd mission and 42nd success of the Long March 2C.

Rocket was launched at 18:10 UTC from LC-3 and it is second launch covering delivering to orbit Yaogan-30 satellites in 2017. Last time Yaogan-30-01 trio was launched on the top of the Long March 2C also from Xichang SLC on September 29, 2017. Just like in September this time orbit parameters were also not unveiled, we can assume that mission covers same designated orbit: 592 km × 601 km, 35.00°.

We also know almost nothing about character of Yaogan satellites. It is quite sure that they will probably used for observation and particularly monitoring movement of U.S Navy ships on Pacific Ocean, but their payload and parameters are still a secret.

Long March 2C is expandable launch vehicle based on two stages with optional third stage.   Rocket is long for 42 m with diameter at 3.35 m and weighs 233 t. It is able to deliver to LEO 3850 kg. First stage, long for 27 m and wid efor 3.35 m, is equipped with four YF-21C engines fueled with N2O4/UDMH; each engine generates 2961.6 kN of thrust. Second stage is long for 7.7 m with diameter of 3.35m is powered by one YF-24E engine based in YF-22E (741.4 kN) and four vernier YF-23C (47.1 kN). All five engines are burning N2O4/UDMH. Third optional stage is only 1.5 m long with diameter of 2.7 m. It is powered by solid fueled (burning 127 kg of HTPB) engine generating 10.78 kN of thrust.

 

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