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China launches new communication technology experiment satellite

By Zhao Lei | | Updated: 2024-02-23 21:34
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A Long March-5 Y7 carrier rocket carrying a communication technology experiment satellite blasts off from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in South China's Hainan province, Feb 23, 2024. China successfully sent a communication technology experiment satellite into space from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on the southern island province of Hainan on Friday. The satellite was launched at 7:30 pm (Beijing Time) by a Long March-5 Y7 carrier rocket and entered the planned orbit successfully. [Photo/Xinhua]

China launched a Long March 5 carrier rocket on Friday evening to deploy an experimental satellite into space, according to the State-owned conglomerate China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, the nation's dominant space contractor.

The company said in a news release that the rocket launched at 7:30 pm from a coastal service tower in the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province and soon placed the satellite, named Communication Technology Demonstrator 11, in its intended orbit.

The rocket was made by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, a subsidiary of the company, and was the 11th in the Long March 5 series.

The satellite was built by the China Academy of Space Technology, another CASC subsidiary, and is tasked with verifying multi-band, high-speed space-based communication technologies, according to the release.

The mission was China's ninth rocket launch this year and the 509th flight of the Long March rocket family, the nation's main launch vehicle fleet.

Lou Luliang, deputy chief designer of the Long March 5, said that the rocket model is scheduled to carry out four to five launches this year.

The next mission, he said, will be used to deploy the country's Chang'e 6 robotic probe to the far side of the moon to bring samples back to Earth.

With more than 750 metric tons of propellants, each Long March 5 has a liftoff weight of 877 tons, and a payload capacity bigger than any other Chinese rocket.

As one of the world's most powerful operational rockets, the colossal craft is capable of ferrying spacecraft weighing up to 25 tons – the combined weight of 16 mid-size cars – to a low-Earth orbit, or 14 tons to a geosynchronous transfer orbit.

Moreover, it can transport an eight-ton probe to the Earth-moon transfer orbit or a five-ton probe to the Earth-Mars transfer orbit.

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