China's new medium-lift carrier rocket Long March-8 blasts off at the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in Hainan Province in south China on December 22(XINHUA)
China's new medium-lift carrier rocket Long March-8 made its maiden flight on December 22, sending five satellites into planned orbit, according to the China National Space Administration (CNSA).
The rocket blasted off from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on the coast of southern China's island province of Hainan at 12:37 p.m. (Beijing Time).
The Long March-8 rocket has a total length of 50.3 meters, with a takeoff mass of 356 tonnes. It can carry a payload of at least 4.5 tonnes to a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 700 km.
The rocket fills the gap in China's launch capability to the sun-synchronous orbit from 3 tonnes to 4.5 tonnes, and is of great significance for accelerating the upgrading of launch vehicles, according to the CNSA.