China launched a land exploration satellite into a preset orbit from the from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in southwestern Sichuan province at 12:11 p.m. Sunday, Beijing Time, via a Long March-2D rocket..
The satellite, Yaogan Weising-31, is, according to China's media, to be used for remote sensing exploration of land resources — however, the conjecture of many subject matter experts is that this is a satellite designed for military intelligence purposes. The Yaogan series of satellites are believed to posses resolutions of around 0.8 meters or finer and are probably electro-optical in nature.
This was China's 257th Long March rocket series launch, with a previous launch on November 25th stated to be engaged in electromagnetic probe activities. Post launch, the name of the satellite was changed to Land Surveying Satellite-1 (LKW-1) and the spacecraft is believed to be a member of the Chinese Jianbing-6 satellite family.