A Chinese Long March 2C rocket boosted another satellite with unknown intentions into orbit earlier today. You can read all about it from NASASpaceflight.com’s posting: Chinese Long March 2C lofts Yaogan Weixing-18 satellite. According to the article, this launch was not officially announced.
There’s not too much advertised about Yaogan Weixing-18, although NASASpaceflight.com’s article does a great run-down of the other Yaogan Weixing satellites and the launch site associated with them. Dragon in Space also has some descriptions of these satellites and the main descriptor for all of them, aside from “military reconnaissance,” is they are “remote sensing.” This particular program is using either synthetic aperture radar (SAR) or some kind of “electro-optical digital imagery” (camera–they just need to say camera) payload on the satellites.
These also, historically, seem to be low earth polar orbiting satellites.
This launch comes hot on the heels of other Chinese activities, like this one about Chinese grappling satellites, posted yesterday. Never a dull moment in China’s space programs…
- Chinese Long March 2C lofts Yaogan Weixing-18 satellite (nasaspaceflight.com)
- Kuaizhou – China secretly launches new quick response rocket (nasaspaceflight.com)