CHINA: China’s new Long March-8 rocket placed 22 satellites in space on Sunday, setting a domestic record for the most spacecraft launched by a single rocket.
The rocket blasted off at at the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in the southern Hainan Province before sending the satellites into pre-set orbits, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
These satellites will be mainly used for commercial remote sensing services, marine environment monitoring, forest fire prevention and disaster mitigation.
The mission marked the 409th flight of the Long March carrier rockets. The Long March-8 used for Sunday’s launch is a modified version of the medium-lift carrier rocket and is 48 metres long with a take-off weight of 198 tonnes. Xiao Yun, Chief Commander of the rocket, said an assembly and test plant for the Long March-8 family is being built outside the Wenchang launch site.
Once completed, it is expected to shorten the launch interval of the Long March-8 rocket to seven days, enabling 50 launches a year.
On February 10, China unveiled an ambitious plan for its burgeoning space industry this year which included over 50 space launches and six manned space flights to complete the building of its space station.
The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) said China will carry out more than 50 space launches in 2022, sending over 140 spacecraft into space. – PTI