China launches first commercial rocket mission

A Chinese rocket successfully sent three satellites into space in the country's first commercial mission on Monday.

The rocket Kuaizhou-1A (KZ-1A) blasted off from China's Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in central Gansu province at 12:11 pm (0411 GMT) with three satellites.

One of the satellites is expected to be used for land resource and forestry surveying, environmental protection, disaster prevention and relief purposes, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The other two satellites will test technologies of low-orbit narrow-band communication and data exchange.

A rocket technology company under the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation is responsible for the mission.

Experts say the successes of Chinese space programmes are significant for China's one-party rulers to garner support from the population and to boost international prestige.

In 2011, the US Congress ruled that Chinese astronauts would not be allowed on the International Space Station because of national security concerns. 

The China National Space Programme aims to launch the core module of China's own manned space station in 2018 with a goal of completing the station by 2022. 

Last update: Mon, 09/01/2017 - 13:45
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