China launches military satellite

A Chinese Long March rocket lofted a military satellite into orbit on Nov. 20, the official Xinhua news agency announced.

The Yaogan 19 payload launched from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center by a three-stage Long March 4C rocket was described by Xinhua as a “remote sensing” satellite. But the “Yaogan” moniker is reportedly a code name for a Chinese surveillance satellite carrying optical and radar sensors.

Xinhua said the satellite was intended to conduct scientific experiments, land surveys and monitor crop yields.

Western analysts think the Yaogan 19 launch is the latest in a series of high-resolution imaging satellites that entered service in 2009.

Xinhua said liftoff occurred at 11:31 a.m. Beijing time on Nov. 20 or 10:31 p.m. eastern standard time on Nov. 19. The Taiyuan launch center is located in Shanxi province in north central China.

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