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Two satellites placed in orbit by Chinese rocket

Posted: September 3, 2014

China launched a Long March 2D rocket Thursday with a data relay satellite and a payload to conduct multimedia telecommunications experiments, according to state media reports.

File photo of a Long March 2D rocket launch from Jiuquan, China. Credit: Xinhua
The 13-story launcher lifted off from the Jiuquan space center in northwest China at 0015 GMT Thursday (8:15 p.m. EDT Wednesday), the official Xinhua news agency said.

The liftoff occurred at 8:15 a.m. Beijing time.

The two-stage, hydrazine-fueled Long March 2D was expected to place the Chuangxin 1-04 data relay satellite and its co-passenger into a sun-synchronous orbit. Chinese state media reported the launch was successful.

"The two satellites have reached their preset orbits via the Long March 2D vehicle," Xinhua reported.

Developed by the China Academy of Sciences, Chuangxin 1-04 is a small satellite designed to gather and transmit data for disaster relief and economic development applications. The craft's mission includes collecting hydrological, meteorological and electric power data, Xinhua reported.

It follows similar Chuangxin relay satellites launched in 2003, 2008 and 2011.

The rocket also put a small experimental spacecraft into orbit for a joint mission managed by Tsinghua University and Beijing Xinwei Telecom Technology Co. Ltd., a Chinese telecom operator.

Xinhua described the payload as a "smart satellite" to conduct multimedia telecommunications experiments. Xinwei says the spacecraft is the company's first step in exploring the construction of a satellite communications network.

Thursday's Long March rocket flight marked the 51st space launch to reach orbit this year and the fourth for China.

Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.