BEIJING, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) — A Long March-4B rocket on Friday morning successfully sent a new group of satellites into space, marking the 400th launch mission of the China-developed Long March carrier rocket series.
Since the first launch in 1970, the Long March carrier rocket series has carried out 92.1 percent of China’s space launch mission, according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), developer of the rocket series and also the leading force of the country’s space industry.
Over the past 51 years, the Long March series has sent more than 700 spacecraft into space, said the CASC.
In the 400 launch missions by Long March rockets, the first three 100 launches were completed in 37 years, 7 and a half years, and around 4 years, respectively.
While the lastest 100 launch missions were carried out within only 33 months since March 2019.
Wu Yansheng, board chairman of the CASC, said that the high launch frequency of the Long March highlights China’s enhanced space launch capacity and the self-reliant spirit of the country’s aerospace workers.
The combo photo shows the crewed spaceship Shenzhou-13, atop a Long March-2F carrier rocket, being launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China’s Gobi Desert, Oct. 16, 2021. (Xinhua/Li Gang)
China’s first space station Tiangong’s core module, Chang’e-5 lunar probe, Tianwen-1 Mars probe, Shenzhou manned spacecraft, Tianzhou cargo craft, BeiDou-3 navigation satellites, and multiple others, were all sent into space by the Long March rockets amid the latest 100 launch missions.
Meanwhile, the growing Long March series has been continuously providing new rocket members, such as the Long March-5B, Long March-7A, Long March-8, to better serve China’s persistent space exploration.
The in-service Long March carrier rockets are now capable of sending various spacecraft into low, medium and high Earth orbits. They can also serve unmanned deep space exploration missions.
According to the CASC, the new-generation manned carrier rockets and heavy-lift carrier rockets are under development as planned.
They will vigorously promote China’s key space projects, including the fourth phase of the lunar exploration project, the exploration of asteroids and Jupiter, manned lunar exploration, and the first Mars sampling mission, among others.
Alongside the progress of the new generation of Long March rockets, the technical level of China’s carrier rocket will leap forward by replacing the old rockets with the new ones and achieving breakthroughs in fields such as rocket reuse, landing-area control, unattended launch and multi-satellite deployment, the CASC said.