China Launched Its 300th Long March Rocket This Month

A Chinese Long March 3B rocket launches the ChinaSat 6C communications satellite into orbit from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center on March 10, 2019. It was China's 300th successful Long March rocket launch.
(Image credit: China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation)

China just hit a rocket launch milestone. 

Last week, the China National Space Administration launched its 300th Long March rocket mission, successfully placing the new communications satellite ChinaSat 6C into orbit. The mission launched March 10 atop a Long March 3B rocket that lifted off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China's southwestern Sichuan Province. 

"This is a milestone for China's space industry development," said Wu Yansheng, board chairman of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), in a CASC statement

Related: China On the Moon! A History of Chinese Lunar Missions

China's first Long March rocket, the Long March 1, launched on April 24, 1970 carrying the country's first satellite, Dongfanghong-1, according to the state-run Xinhua news service. That first booster could launch up to 661 lbs. (300 kilograms) into orbit. 

China's Long March rockets are built by the country's Great Wall Industry Company, which  has developed 17 variants of the booster over the years. Its biggest, the heavy-lift Long March 5, is capable of launching  27.6 tons (25 metric tons) to low-Earth orbit (LEO) and 15.4 tons (14 metric tons) to the more distant geostationary transfer orbit.  

The country has also recently developed smaller rockets, the Long March 6, Long March 7 and Long March 11, and has plans to make its Long March 8 booster reusable. A super-heavy-lift Long March 9 booster is also in the works, according to SpaceNews

This China Great Wall Industry Corporation video still shows China's existing Long March rocket family.  (Image credit: China Great Wall Industry Corporation)

The Long March series is not China's only rocket family, but it is responsible for over 96 percent of the country's launches, CASC officials said in the statement.  

It took China 37 years to launch its first 100 Long March missions, they added.  The next 100 followed in just over seven years, with the final 100 missions launching in the last four years. 

China launched 37 missions in 2018, a national record for the country. The country plans to launch more than 30 missions in 2019, according to SpaceNews.

To date, Long March rockets have launched more than 500 spacecraft since 1970, according to CASC officials.

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.