Spaceflight Now: Breaking News

Chinese Earth-watching satellite launched

Posted: September 2, 2000

A Chinese rocket lofted a remote sensing payload into Earth orbit early Friday, marking the 50th successful space launch of 2000.

The Long March 4B rocket lifted off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center (TSLC) at 0325 GMT on Friday (11:25 p.m. EDT Thursday). Aboard was the ZY-2 remote sensing and observation satellite, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

ZY-2 will take pictures and other high-resolution images of Earth that will be used to survey land and water bodies, plan city layouts, monitor crops and other land uses, and help in managing disasters such as floods or earthquakes. The satellite will also perform other science experiments while in orbit, Xinhua said.

Yesterday's launch was the 62nd by a Long March rocket and the second by a Long March 4B rocket. The vehicle made its first launch in May of 1999. Developed by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST), the Long March 4B is made up of three upgraded stages from the Long March 4 rocket.

All Long March rockets are marketed by the China Great Wall Industry Corporation. The last launch of a Long March took place in June and carried a Chinese weather satellite into orbit.

The TSLC launch site for the ZY-2 mission is located in the northwestern part of the Shanxi Province, which is located in eastern China near Beijing.