Long March 6 Launches 9 Satellites into Orbit


Long March 6 lifts off from Taiyuan on April 27, 2021. (Credit: CASC)

A Chinese Long March 6 booster launched nine satellites from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center on Tuesday at 11:20 a.m. local time in the inaugural flight of a new commercial rideshare program.

Long March 6 placed the following satellites into sun synchronous orbit:

  • Origin Space NEO-1 — asteroid mining technology demonstration
  • Qilu-1 — synthetic aperture radar
  • Qilu-4 — optical remote sensing
  • Foshan-1 — optical remote sensing
  • Apocalypse Constellation Zero Nine Star — Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Golden Bauhinia-1 01 — visible light remote sensing
  • Golden Bauhinia-1 02 — visible light remote sensing
  • Zhongan Guotong-1 — optical remote sensing
  • Tianqi-9 — optical remote sensing

It was the first rideshare mission under the new Long March Express service launched by the China Great Wall Industry Group Company, a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Technology Group.

Origin Space NEO-1 satellite is a scientific research and technology verification satellite used to observe small celestial bodies and to verify prototype technology for the acquisition of space resources.

Origin Space NEO-1 was developed by Shanghai Aerospace Science and Technology Co., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the 805 Institute of the Eighth Academy of Aerospace Science and Technology Group.

Long March 6 rocket (Credit: CASC)

Qilu-1 is a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite that will obtain ground microwave wavelength images and verify on-orbit autonomous mission planning, on-orbit image processing and low-orbit inter-satellite laser communication technology.

Qilu-4 is an optical remote sensing satellite that will return high-resolution images for use in land use planning, urban construction, agriculture, forestry, energy, and disaster prevention and mitigation in Shandong Province.

Foshan-1 is an optical remote sensing satellite that will carry out on-orbit verification of flexible platform and integrated design, ultra-lightweight camera design, and high-resolution imaging technology.

Apocalypse Constellation Zero Nine Star is a low-orbit IoT communications satellite. The spacecraft was developed by Shanghai Aerospace Science and Technology Company.

Long March 6 fairing (Credit: CASC)

The two Golden Bauhinia satellites are visible light remote sensing satellites used to observe ground targets.

The Zhong’an Guotong-1 and Taijing-2 01 satellites will conduct optical remote sensing activities.

It was the fifth success in as many launch attempts for the Long March 6 booster, and the 366th launch of the Long March series.

The Long March 6 launch vehicle was developed by the Eighth Academy of the Aerospace Science and Technology Group. The new generation small liquid launch vehicle can place 1 metric ton payloads into 700-kilometer sun-synchronous orbit.