Taking further strides in space technology, China on Saturday successfully launched three new remote sensing satellites from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in the country’s southwestern Sichuan province.
The satellites, belonging to the Yaogan-35 family, were launched by a Long March-2D carrier rocket and entered the planned orbit successfully, as per reports by news agencies.
This launch marked the 396th mission for the Long March series carrier rockets.
In March 2019, China’s Long March-3Brocket, regarded as the mainstay of the country’s space programme since 1970, had successfully completed its 300th launch by putting a new communication satellite into orbit.
The Long March carrier rocket series, developed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, is responsible for about 96.4 per cent of all the launch missions in China.
It took 37 years for the Long March rockets to complete the first 100 launches, 7.5 years to complete the second 100 launches, and only about four years to accomplish the final 100, with the average number of launches per year increasing from 2.7 to 13.3 and then to 23.5, Xinhua reported in 2019.
The missile launch comes on the heels of the launch of a new spacecraft which many initially dubbed as a missile test. China later clarified that it was merely a test to see whether the vehicle could be reused.
Alongside its space program, China’s expansion into hypersonic missile technology and other advanced fields has raised concerns in countries like the United States as Beijing becomes increasingly assertive over its claims to seas and islands in the South China and East China Seas and to large chunks of territory along its disputed high-mountain border with India.
China’s space program is run by its military and is closely tied to its agenda of building hypersonic missiles and other technologies that could alter the balance of power with the United States.
(With inputs from agencies)