Results of the scientific work carried out by Shijian satellites have never been published, giving rise to speculation that they are used to conduct surveillance and collect electronic intelligence
China launched an experimental orbiter from the Shijian family of satellites on 6 July to conduct what it calls "space scientific experiments".
The SJ-11-03, developed by China Spacesat, a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp (CASC), was lifted on a Long March II-C carrier rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu Province. Among its many functions, CASC is known to support the General Staff Department (GSD) and General Armaments Department (GAD) in the development of space-based surveillance systems.
The satellite has a perigee of 701 km to 723 km and apogee of 98.21-degree orbit, similar to that of its predecessor, the SJ-11-01, which was launched in November 2009 and has a perigee of 695.7 km and an apogee of 710.6 km.
My article, published today in Jane's Defence Weekly, continues here (subscription required).