China launches sustainable development satellite SDGSAT-1 to study Earth from space

China continued its fast pace of space launches on Thursday night, sending a satellite into orbit in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Long March 6 was one of China's latest launch vehicles. It lifted off from the hills around Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center, north China, at 10:19 PM Eastern Time Nov. 4. (0219 GMT, 10:00 a.m. local, Nov. 5).

SDGSAT-1 is China's CCTV news agency. It will orbit at 314 miles (505 km) altitude and use multispectral, low-light, and thermal infrared cameras to gather data for the evaluation of Sustainable Development Goals indicators. These data will be used for assessing the effects and changes caused by human urban, coastal and residential activities as well as nature.

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On November 4, 2021, a Chinese Long March 6 rocket lifts of from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center. It carries SDGSAT-1. (Image credit Zheng Bin/Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center.

According to a 2020 paper by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) on the progress of satellite, data services will be available within half a calendar year of launch.

The 1,631 lb. SDGSAT-1, weighing in at 740 kg (7631 lb), was developed by CAS. This satellite was developed as part of the CAS Project on Big Earth Data Science Engineering.

The Long March 6 rocket that launched the mission was designed by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology. This is a major rocket and craft maker for the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, the main space contractor of the Chinese government.

The rocket was launched for the first time in 2015. It has been launched eight times since then. The rocket has been launched half of the times since 2015, which suggests that it is playing a larger role in China's launch plans.

The new Long March 6 uses liquid oxygen and highly refined kerosene, which is a departure from many of China's older Long March rockets.

SAST is also planning to launch its first Long March 6A rocket. The new rocket, despite its name, will be very different from the standard Long March 6. It will also be the first Chinese launcher that combines a liquid propellant corestage with solid side boosters.