Nation kicks off busiest year for launches

By Zhao Lei | China Daily | Updated: 2020-01-09 10:07
A Long March 3B carrier rocket lifts an experimental communication satellite into space at 11:20 pm on Tuesday at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province. [Photo by Guo Wenbin/For China Daily]

China used a Long March 3B carrier rocket late on Tuesday to send an experimental communication satellite into space, marking the first launch in what is expected to be the busiest year for the nation's space industry.

The launch took place at 11:20 pm at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province. It was the 324th mission for the Long March series carrier family, according to China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, the country's major space contractor.

The company said the satellite-Communication Technology Experimental Satellite 5-was designed and built by its Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology and is tasked with communication, broadcasting, data transmission operations and high-throughput technology demonstration.

China's space industry is getting ready for an extremely busy year, with at least 50 launch missions likely to take place.

China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp has announced that it will strive to carry out more than 40 launch missions to serve national space programs, such as the completion of the Beidou Navigation Satellite System, as well as demands from commercial satellite operators.

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