(Visitors gathering at the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp exhibition booth at Airshow China 2016 in Zhuhai, Guangdong)
China launched a Long March 6 carrier rocket on Tuesday to send three small Earth-observation satellites into space.
The Long March 6 blasted off at 12:50 pm at Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Shanxi province and put three Jilin 1-series satellites in orbit, according to a news release from China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, the major contractor of China's space programs.
It was the second mission for the Long March 6, a new-generation liquid-propellant rocket, the release said. The three-stage rocket's first launch was in September 2015, when it put 20 satellites into orbit, setting a record for most satellites launched by a single Chinese rocket.
Development of the Long March 6, the first of China's new generation of carrier rockets, began in 2009 at the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology, a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.
The 29.3-meter rocket can place about a metric ton of payload into a sun-synchronous orbit 700 kilometers above Earth. Its main propulsion is a 120-ton-thrust engine that burns liquid oxygen and kerosene.
Chinese engineers have produced four new types of carrier rockets－Long March 6, Long March 11, Long March 7 and Long March 5－since 2015. No other nation has put as many new rockets into service within such a short time.