Three mysterious payloads widely believed to be signals intelligence satellites for the Chinese military rocketed into orbit on top of a Long March 2C booster Monday from a launch base in southwestern China.
China launched a Long March 2C rocket Friday with three Yaogan 30 military satellites, and tested new grid fins on the Long March’s first stage to help guide the spent booster away from populated areas.
A Chinese Long March 4C rocket failed to place its top secret military payload into orbit Wednesday after a launch from the Taiyuan space base southwest of Beijing, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.
Two Chinese Yaogan military reconnaissance satellites launched this week, riding a Long March 2C booster into orbit on a mission that inaugurated the use of a new restartable upper stage to increase the rocket’s carrying capacity.
China launched its latest military spy satellite Thursday with the successful deployment of the Yaogan 29 payload in polar orbit, likely adding a new radar reconnaissance craft to the country’s space fleet.