China sent a classified experimental satellite to orbit on Friday (Oct. 28), continuing a busy October for the nation.
The Shiyan-20C spacecraft lifted off on Friday at 9:01 p.m. EDT (0101 GMT and 9:01 a.m. Beijing time on Oct. 29), riding a Long March 2D rocket into the sky from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China.
The 2,650-pound (1,200 kilograms) Shiyan-20C was successfully inserted into an orbit about 435 miles (700 kilometers) above Earth, NASASpaceflight.com reported (opens in new tab), citing the China Aerospace Science Corporation.
Related: The latest news about China's space program
"The satellite will be mainly used for in-orbit verification of new technologies such as space environment monitoring," the state-run media outlet Xinhua wrote.
This vague description is fairly standard for the Shiyan satellites, whose name translates as "experiment."
The Shiyan constellation is a relatively large one, consisting of 22 spacecraft now that Shiyan-20C is aloft, according to NASASpaceflight.com. The satellites likely do a variety of jobs and test a range of new technologies.
China has now launched six orbital missions this month, including a very high-profile effort today (Oct. 31).
That most recent liftoff sent the Mengtian module skyward atop a Long March 5B rocket. Mengtian is the third and final piece of China's T-shaped Tiangong space station. Its arrival, expected later tonight, will mark the end of Tiangong's assembly phase and the beginning of full operations for the orbital outpost.
Editor's note: This story was corrected at 5 p.m. EDT on Oct. 31 to attribute NASASpaceflight.com as a source. The original version erroneously attributed Spaceflight Now.
Mike Wall is the author of "Out There (opens in new tab)" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab).