WENCHANG, Hainan, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- China launched a Long March-7A rocket to place two satellites in space on Thursday.
The rocket blasted off at 6:12 p.m. (Beijing Time) at the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in southern Hainan Province and soon sent Shiyan-12 01 and Shiyan-12 02 satellites into preset orbit.
Shiyan means "experiment" in Chinese. Developed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, the pair of satellites will do space environment surveys and other related technology tests, the state-owned company said in a statement.
As a modified version of the Long March-7 rocket, the launch vehicle represents the new generation of China's medium-sized high-orbit rocket.
It has three stages and a total length of 60.7 meters, making the Long March-7A the tallest rocket in service in China.
With four 2.25m-diameter additional boosters, the liquid-fueled rocket can send a payload of 7 tonnes to geosynchronous transfer orbit, about 36,000 km above the Earth's equator.
The mission marked the 402nd flight of the Long March carrier rockets.