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China launches imaging satellite
Posted: Sun, Oct 27, 2002, 11:53 AM ET (1653 GMT)
ZY-2 satellite (Encyclopedia Astronautica) China announced early Sunday that it launched an imaging satellite designed for remote sensing or military reconnaissance work. A Long March 4B rocket lifted off from the Taiyuan launch center at 11:17 pm EDT Saturday night (0317 GMT, 11:17 am local time Sunday) and placed the satellite into a 500-kilometer Sun-synchronous orbit. The spacecraft was identified by Chinese officials as Zi Yuan 2 (ZY-2), a remote sensing satellite similar to another ZY satellite (also known by some sources as ZY-2) launched in September 2000. While Chinese officials called this a remote sensing satellite, the spacecraft is likely also used to provide high-resolution military reconnaissance images, according to Western sources. The launch is the third successful one of the year for China, after the March launch of Shenzhou 3 and the May launch of two earth science satellites on another Long March 4B. In addition, the September launch of an unidentified payload on a new Kaituozhe 1 small launch vehicle apparently failed, but was not reported by the Chinese media.
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