The missile was launched from the Wenchang Space Launch Site in Hainan Province, southern China. Photos from the scene show crowds crowded with tents in the distance, waiting to watch the takeoff.
The rocket carried the Shiyan-9 satellite to test new technologies such as monitoring the space environment, according to the China Space Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).
The government-owned space contractor said CASC built the experimental satellite in just eight months, setting a record for medium to large-scale remote sensing satellites.
The Long March 7A is a three-stage missile with four boosters, it is 197 feet (60.1 meters) long and 11 feet (3.35 meters) in diameter. It has the capacity to send seven metric tons of payload to the geostationary transport orbit (GTO) – about 22,000 miles (35,405 kilometers) above the Earth’s surface.
The missile is primarily designed to launch satellites to GTO, with the possibility of being upgraded to the Moon, Mars, and asteroids exploration in the future, according to CASC.
China’s first attempt to launch the Long March 7A, in March 2020, at the Wenchang Space Launch Site has failed. At the time, Chinese officials said engineers would investigate the cause of the failure, without giving further details.
China expects to launch three to five Long March 7A missiles each year before 2025, according to CASC.
China has an ambitious space program, backed by billions of dollars in government investment. In recent months, the country has launched two missions to the Moon and Mars.
In July 2020, China launched its first unmanned mission to Mars – the Tianwen-1 probe, which entered the orbit of the Red Planet in February this year. And in December 2020, China’s unmanned Chang’e mission brought back moon samples to Earth – making it only the third country to successfully collect rocks from the moon.
CNN’s Young Xiong contributed to this report.
Профессиональный решатель проблем. Тонко обаятельный любитель бекона. Геймер. Заядлый ботаник. Музыкальный новатор