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Yaogan 33 Satellite Successfully Launched as China Expands Its Spy Satellite Fleet

Yaogan 33 satellite (Photo: Space)

Yaogan 33 Satellite Successfully Launched as China Expands Its Spy Satellite Fleet

China launches yet another Yaogan spy satellite (video) | Space

China has added another satellite to its Yaogan 33 series, with the successful launch of Yaogan 33 satellite. (Photo: Space)

China Successfully Launches Yaogan 33 Satellite, Advancing Scientific Research and Disaster Relief Efforts

According to the Space article, on September 26, at 4:15 p.m. EDT (2015 GMT) or 4:15 a.m. Beijing Time on September 27, a Long March 4C rocket was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert. The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) swiftly confirmed the successful launch, revealing that the undisclosed payload was Yaogan 33 (04), constituting the fourth satellite in the Yaogan 33 series.

This launch followed closely on the heels of the third Yaogan 33 satellite launch earlier in the same month, with both spacecrafts being transported by Long March 4C rockets from the Jiuquan center. Yaogan 33 (04) has been tracked in a near-polar orbit at an altitude ranging from 422 to 428 miles (680 by 688 kilometers) by the U.S. Space Force. As is customary with Yaogan missions, detailed information about the satellite itself remains undisclosed.

However, Chinese state media has indicated that the satellite’s mission encompasses scientific experiments, land resources surveys, crop yield estimation, and disaster prevention and relief efforts.

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China Launches Yaogan 33 Satellite Amidst Concerns Over Dual-Use Capabilities Following Recent Launch Failure

According to Ground News, previous reports have suggested that the Yaogan 33 satellite is likely comprised of space-based synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites. These SAR satellites possess the capability to capture highly detailed ground images even in conditions characterized by cloud cover and darkness. While officially designated for civilian purposes, Western observers typically classify Yaogan satellites as having potential military applications.

This launch constituted China’s 45th space launch in 2023. Notably, it occurred shortly after the nation experienced its first launch failure of the year, involving a Ceres-1 solid rocket operated by the commercial entity Galactic Energy, which did not achieve its intended orbit.

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