China Launches Two Demonstration Satellites to Space
A Long March 2C rocket carrying two satellites blasts off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in China on Oct. 14, 2012.
CREDIT: China Academy of Space Technology
China successfully launched a Long March 2C rocket Sunday (Oct. 14), orbiting a pair of engineering research satellites to test new technologies in space, according to state-run media reports.
The Long March 2C launcher lifted off at 11:25 a.m. Beijing time Sunday (0325 GMT; 11:25 p.m. EDT Saturday) from the Taiyuan space center in northern China's Shanxi province, a remote site about 265 miles (426 kilometers) southwest of Beijing.
The state-run Xinhua news agency reported the launch was successful. China did not announce plans for the launch in advance.
The Long March 2C booster was carrying two Shijian 9 demonstration satellites, state media reported. The rocket reached a near-polar orbit, according to U.S. military tracking data.
Official Chinese reports did not identify what specific components the Shijian 9 satellites would test in orbit, but state media said the mission would focus on satellite reliability demonstrations and validating high-performance Chinese-made technologies.
Shijian means "practice" in Chinese.
Sunday's launch marked China's 14th space launch of 2012 and the 56th mission to reach orbit worldwide this year.
Copyright 2012 SpaceflightNow.com, all rights reserved.
MORE FROM SPACE.com