2012-05-10 (China Military News cited from nasaspaceflight.com and by Rui C. Barbosa) — Four days after the launch of Tianhui-1B mapping satellite, China has launched a new optical remote sensing satellite on May 10, 2012 from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center. Launch of Yaogan Weixing-14 (YG-14) satellite took place at 07:06UTC using a Long March 4B (Chang Zheng-4B) launch vehicle from the LC9 launch complex.
Another Chinese Launch:
Once again, the official Chinese media refer the new satellite as a new remote sensing bird that will be used for scientific experiments, land survey, crop yield assessment, and disaster monitoring. As was the case in the previous launches of the Yaogan Weixing series, western analysts believe this class of satellites is being used for military purposes.
Some believe that YG-14 is a new class of optical observation satellite containing sensors developed by CAST’s 508 institute and the Changchun Institute of Optics.
The launch also included a small, but as yet unknown, small satellite called Tiantuo 1.
This was the 162nd successful Chinese orbital launch, the 162nd launch of a Chang Zheng launch vehicle, the 38th successful orbital launch from Taiyuan and the second from Taiyuan this year, becoming the seventh successful orbital Chinese launch in 2012.
Looking back to the Yaogan Weixing launch series:
The first Yaogan Weixing satellite (29092 2006-015A) was launched by a Chang Zheng-4C (Y1) from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center on April 27, 2006. Developed by Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST), the details about this satellite were closely guarded, but later it was said that this was the first Jianbing-5 satellite, equipped with the first space-based synthetic aperture radar (SAR).
The second satellite on the series, the Yaogan Weixing-2 (31490 2007-019A), was launched on 25 May, 2007, by a Chang Zheng-2D (Y8) from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. Details were also restricted, though it is claimed that this spacecraft is an electro-optical military observation satellite also known as JB-6 Jianbing-6, complementing the results of the Yaogan Weixing-1. This satellite was developed by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST).
Another SAR mission was launched on November 11, 2007 when the Yaogan Weixing-3 (32289 2007-055A) satellite was orbited by a Chang Zheng-4C (Y3) launch vehicle from Taiyuan.
Yaogan Weixing-4 (33446 2008-061A) was launched on December 1, 2008. This was the second electro-optical satellite on the series and was launched by a Chang Zheng-2D (Y9) from Jiuquan. Other satellite on the Jianbing-6 series were Yaogan Wexing-7 (36110 2009-069A), launched on December 9, 2009 from Jiuquan by a Chang Zheng-2D (Y10), and Yaogan Weixing-11 (37165 2010-047A) launched on September 22, 2010, by the Chang Zheng-2D (Y11) launch vehicle from Jiuquan.
The first second-generation electro-optical reconnaissance satellite developed by CAST, Yaogan Weixing-5 (33456 2008-064A), was launched on December 15, 2008. The launch took place from Taiyuan by the Chang Zheng-4B (Y20) rocket. Yaogan Weixing-12 (37875 2011-066B) was other second-generation electro-optical reconnaissance satellite, being launched on November 11th, 2011, by the Chang Zheng-4B (Y21) launch vehicle from Taiyuan.
Yaogan Weixing-6 (34839 2009-021A), launched by a Chang Zheng-2C-III (Y19) from Taiyuan on April 22, 2009, was a second-generation SAR satellite developed by SAST, having a spatial resolution of 1.5m.
Other second-generation SAR satellites were the Yaogan Weixing-8 (36121 2009-072A), launched on December 15, 2009, by the CZ-4C (Y4) also from Taiyuan, the Yaogan Weixing-10 (36834 2010-038A) launch on August 9, 2010, by the Chang Zheng-4C (Y6) launch vehicle from Taiyuan; and the Yaogan Weixing-13 (37941 2011-072A) launch on November 29, 2011, by the Chang Zheng-2C (Y20) launch vehicle from Taiyuan.