China launched a Long March 4B rocket Saturday with a high-resolution mapping satellite for the Chinese Ministry of Natural Resources and two smaller spacecraft designed for astronomical observations and data relay services.
China launched a Long March 2D rocket Saturday with a satellite Chinese officials claimed will study the space environment and conduct technology demonstrations, less than two days after a Long March 4B rocket took off from a different launch site with an Earth-imaging payload.
A civilian-operated Chinese oceanography satellite deployed in orbit after lifting off on a Long March 2C rocket Wednesday, joining a predecessor launched in 2018 to monitor ocean color and water temperatures.
China led the world with 34 orbital launch attempts in 2019 — including two failures — followed by 22 flights from Russian-operated launch pads and 21 satellite delivery missions originating from U.S. spaceports, all of which were successful.
Two solid-fueled Kuaizhou 1A rockets fired into orbit from the same spaceport in northern China Saturday, demonstrating a further advance in China’s aim for a quick-response, on-call satellite launch capability.