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China Launches 4 Satellites on New Rocket’s Maiden Commercial Flight

China launches 4 satellites on new Rocket. Credit: Shanghai Aerospace Corporation

Ibadan, 8 May 2024. – China has successfully launched four satellites, including Neptune 01, into orbit aboard its Long March 6C carrier rocket from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center.

This mission is the first flight of the Long March 6C launch vehicle, marking the addition of a new member to the Long March rocket family. It also improves the model spectrum of China’s new generation Long March series of launch vehicles and promotes the accelerated upgrading of China’s active launch vehicles.

The Shanghai Aerospace Corporation-built Long March 6C carrier rocket is the Corporation’s active response to China’s call for the Chinese commercial space industry to proactively adapt to changes in productivity, actively cultivate strategic emerging industries, and accelerate the development of new productive forces.

The mission launched the four satellites on a “carpool” launch mission, which was the result of a commercial bidding. It is also the first public bidding for the launch service of China’s Long March series of carrier rockets

On the other hand, Neptune 01 is an experimental satellite of the Neptune constellation. The project comprises 1 experimental satellite and 12 operational satellites and aims to build and operate a constellation of low-orbit real-time imaging observation satellites and provide satellite-based real-time imaging services around the world.

The satellite will operate in a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 507 kilometers with a total weight of 239 kilograms. The main load of the satellite is an X-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR), which adopts a ” reflective surface antenna + traveling wave tube amplifier ” centralized transmission system. The satellite has multiple working modes and can provide high-resolution images for various users. It can also provide quantitative SAR satellite data in the fields of surveying and mapping, land, disaster reduction, ocean, forestry, transportation, water conservancy and other fields.

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