Long March 3B Rocket Launches Earth Observation Satellite
China has launched a new Earth observation satellite into geostationary orbit on March 17, 2023. The satellite, named Gaofen-13-02, was carried by a Long March 3B rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province at 08:33 UTC.
Gaofen-13-02 is part of China's High-Resolution Earth Observation System (CHEOS), which aims to provide global coverage for disaster prevention and mitigation, environmental protection, land and resources surveying, and other applications, according to government statements. The satellite will operate at an altitude of about 36,000 km and will provide high-resolution images of the Earth's surface.
The Long March 3B rocket is China's most powerful launch vehicle, capable of delivering up to 5,500 kg of payload to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO). It has four liquid-fueled boosters attached to a three-stage core vehicle. The rocket has been used for launching various communications, navigation, and military satellites since its debut in 1996. The latest launch was the 88th flight of the Long March 3B family and the 76th flight of the enhanced version known as Long March 3B/E or Long March 3B/G2.
The launch was also the ninth orbital launch by China in 2023, following the flights of Tianwen-2 rover to Mars , Chang'e-7 lander and rover to the lunar south pole, Shenzhou-14 crewed mission to Tiangong space station, and others.