Long March 11 Launches Scientific Satellites on 11th Flight

A Chinese Long March 11 rocket launched the Gravitational Wave High-energy Electromagnetic Counterpart All-sky Monitor (GECAM) mission on Thursday.

Long March 11 lifted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center at 4:14 a.m. The two GECAM satellites were placed in their intended orbits,  according to a press release from Long March 11’s developer, the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT).

The GECAM satellites, which each weigh 163 kg, are designed to detect the electromagnetic counterparts of gravitational waves. The data will aid scientists in their studies of black holes and neutron stars.

Long March 11 is now 11-for-11 since its maiden launch in September 2015. Nine flights have originated from land, the other from an ocean platform. The four-stage, solid-fuel booster can launch payloads weighing 700 kg into low Earth orbit and 500 kg into sun synchronous orbit.

The launch was the 355th launch of the Long March series of rockets.