WASHINGTON — Two Chinese launches placed into orbit Earth observation and disaster monitoring satellites in less than 24 hours Nov. 20-21.
A Long March 2D rocket lifted off from the Jiquan Satellite Launch Center in China at 2:12 a.m. EST on Nov. 20 and placed the Yaogan-24 satellite into orbit. The satellite, launched less than a week after Yaogan-23, is reported to be used for civil remote sensing and scientific experiments, but is widely perceived in the West to be a military reconnaissance satellite.
At 1:37 a.m. EST on Nov. 21, a Kuaizhou rocket placed the Kuaizhou-2 satellite into orbit after launching from Jiquan. The satellite is said by Chinese media to provide information on natural disasters. The Kuaizhou rocket is a small solid-fuel vehicle based on a ballistic missile.