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China launches first Long March 8
Posted: Sat, Jan 2, 2021, 12:20 PM ET (1720 GMT)
Long March 8 first launch (CNSA) China successfully launched its first Long March 8 rocket Dec. 21. The medium-lift rocket launched from the Wenchang spaceport on the island of Hainan at 11:37 pm EST (0437 GMT Dec. 22). It placed into sun-synchronous orbit the XJY-7 classified remote sensing technology demonstrator satellite and four smaller satellites, including the first commercial synthetic aperture radar imaging satellite for Chinese company Spacety. The Long March 8 is designed to fill a gap in launch capabilities for medium-class spacecraft and is part of a broader family of new launch vehicles intended to ultimately replace the Long March 2, 3 and 4 vehicles. The China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, which developed the Long March 8, eventually wants to recover and reuse the first stage.
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