Recently, a Chinese Long March 4B was delivered into orbit satellite for the observation of the Earth. The spacecraft showed a descent of the rocket’s first stage with the help of the grid fins. The rover Dianfeng took off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center and it was for the first time that a grid fin system was used to limit the area in which it lands. The landings have earlier resulted in debris being thrown here and there. Thus, the grid fins are believed to help lower risk and make retropropulsive landings or launcher reusability possible. The test was a success and the falling of the prime stage in the marked area proves the capability of the new system.
The Gaofen-7 optical Earth-observation satellite that sent into the orbit for the observation purpose was the key payload for the rover. Gaofen-7 will help obtain high-precision laser altimetry and high-resolution optical 3D data. The satellite is a division of China High-resolution Earth Observation System. There were two other satellites, including Shenzhen Aerospace Dongfanghong HIT Satellite Ltd.’s Sudan Remote Sensing Satellite and the Shanghai Institute of Satellite Engineering’s Huangpu-1, and a CubeSat as well. The 6U CubeSat was built by Spacety for multispectral imaging. The LaserFleet and Iodine-based propulsion system were also carried for providing broadband services and refueling.
Similarly, China already has 14 Gaofen satellites in orbit that have formed a civilian Earth-observation constellation. China had launched Gaofen-11 back in 2018 and the satellite provided a very high-resolution Earth observation that helped unravel a few facts surrounding the broadband services. The satellite generated computer-based data which the researchers decoded to understand the observational details. China has a commercial Kuaizhou-1A solid rocket that will also be taking off in the next few days despite the mission being called off last week.