China launched a Long March 2D carrier rocket on Monday morning, kicking off the country’s space program for 2022.
The rocket blasted off at 10:35 am at the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in northern China’s Shanxi province and soon placed the Shiyan 13 experimental satellite in its preset orbit, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp said in a statement.
This was China’s first rocket launch of the year and the 406th mission of the Long March rocket family.
The State-owned space contractor said the mission marked the beginning of its schedule of space missions in 2022, which is expected to include more than 40 launch activities.
Last year, CASC carried out 48 launch missions with its Long March rockets, which are the nation’s pillar space transporters. All the missions were successful, making Long March the world’s busiest launch vehicle family last year.
China conducted a total of 55 orbital launches in 2021, more than any other country. The United States ranked second, with 51 launches during that period.
Developed by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology, another subsidiary of the company, the Long March 2D has a liftoff weight of 300 metric tons and is capable of transporting multiple satellites to different orbits. It has a carrying capacity of 1.2 tons to typical sun-synchronous orbit with an altitude of 700 kilometers, a space often occupied by weather or remote-sensing satellites.