China launched four new communications satellites this week in two launches from different launch sites, within hours of each other, as the country’s intense launch activity continues. It will be used for ecological environment monitoring, asteroid resource exploration, disaster prevention and mitigation among others.
The Long March-2D rocket carrying the satellites blasted off at 11:03 a.m. Beijing time from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in north China’s Shanxi Province.
The rocket used a Yuanzheng 1S upper stage to deliver three payloads into near polar orbits with average altitudes of around 680 miles (1,100 kilometers) above Earth, according to U.S. space tracking.
The three satellites will be used in researching marine ecological environment observation, asteroid resource exploration, and in-orbit service teaching and training.
Among them was the Beijing-3 satellite, a commercial remote sensing satellite developed by China Spacesat Co., Ltd. It is used mainly for resource investigation, ecological environment monitoring, urban management, and disaster prevention and mitigation.
Chinese space contractors and Chinese state media announced that two satellites were “fusion” communication technology test satellites with the acronym RSW.
The two launches were China’s 30th and 31st orbital missions of 2021. All but two of these launches have been carried out by CASC, which is planning more than 40 launches this year.