PHOTOS: Long March soars from snowy spaceport

For the first time since the dawn of the space age, China's Long March rocket family eclipsed the annual flight rate of the U.S. fleet of space launchers Thursday with the successful deployment of a high-resolution mapping satellite.

A Long March 4B booster lifted off at 0326 GMT Thursday (10:26 p.m. EST Wednesday) from the Taiyuan launching base in Shanxi province, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

The 150-foot-tall rocket released a Ziyuan remote sensing satellite into orbit 13 minutes later, according to the Chinese defense ministry.

Photo credit: Chinese Ministry of Defense


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