China launched a new satellite yesterday, December 27, marking its final launch of 2020.
The Yaogan Weixing-33(R) satellite was launched from the Jiuguan Satellite Launch Center utilizing China's Long March-4C rocket.
While the conditions at the launch site were extremely cold at the time of the launch, the team was able to implement several safeguards that allowed the mission to go on according to plan.
Chinese media reported that the satellite launched into orbit will be used for scientific research. However, the entire series of the Yaogan Weixing satellites is internationally considered to be more military in nature.
At 23:44 on December 27, China successfully put the remote sensing satellite 33 into the predetermined orbit with the long march 4C carrier rocket at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, and the launch was a complete success. 👇（摄影：汪江波） pic.twitter.com/V097VbL5L4— 青海草原圆-爱毛胖爱国羽 (@ANGELCH85676477) December 27, 2020
One might be confused about the launch of the Yaogan Weixing-33, as this same-named satellite exploded in May of 2019 along with its Long March-4C rocket. While this event did occur, the team opted to reuse the name due to the missions being nearly identical.
Along with the larger Yaogan Weixing-33 satellite, the mission also carried up a smaller satellite with the name of Weina Jishu Shiyan, which is also slated to be utilized for scientific purposes according to Chinese state media.
Notably, this news signals the last satellite launch by China in 2020 and the last satellites on their existing five-year satellite plan.