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Satnews Daily
December 4th, 2017

China Pushes Yaogan Weising-31 Satellite to Orbit

China's launch of their Yaogan Weixing-31 satellite on December 3, 2017, from the Jiuquan Satellite launch center. Photo is courtesy of Xinhua.

China launched a land exploration satellite into a preset orbit from the from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in southwestern Sichuan province at 12:11 p.m. Sunday, Beijing Time, via a Long March-2D rocket..

The satellite, Yaogan Weising-31, is, according to China's media, to be used for remote sensing exploration of land resources — however, the conjecture of many subject matter experts is that this is a satellite designed for military intelligence purposes. The Yaogan series of satellites are believed to posses resolutions of around 0.8 meters or finer and are probably electro-optical in nature.

This was China's 257th Long March rocket series launch, with a previous launch on November 25th stated to be engaged in electromagnetic probe activities. Post launch, the name of the satellite was changed to Land Surveying Satellite-1 (LKW-1) and the spacecraft is believed to be a member of the Chinese Jianbing-6 satellite family.