China's new medium-lift carrier rocket Long March-8 made its maiden flight on Tuesday, sending five satellites into planned orbit, according to the China National Space Administration (CNSA).
The rocket blasted off from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on the coast of southern China's island province of Hainan at 12:37 pm (Beijing Time).
The Long March-8 rocket has a total length of 50.3 meters, with a takeoff mass of 356 tons. It can carry a payload of at least 4.5 tons to a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 700 km.
The rocket fills the gap in China's launch capability to the sun-synchronous orbit from 3 tons to 4.5 tons, and is of great significance for accelerating the upgrading of launch vehicles, according to the CNSA.