On Friday, March 12, 2021, China successfully launched their Long March 7A rocket from Hainan — exactly one year after a failed first attempt with this launch vehicle.
The Long March 7A lifted off from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch site and carried the Shiyan-9 satellite. The Long March 7A is a three-stage rocket with four boosters and measures 197 feet (60.1 metres) long and 11 feet (3.35 metres) in diameter. The rocket has the capacity to send seven metric tons of payload to Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO), which is approximately 22,000 miles (35,405 kilometres) above the Earth’s surface.
The launcher draws on new, kerosene engine technologies, along with a stage modified from the older Long March 3B series (China’s current workhorse rocket), boosting China’s launch options to now include GTO.
The satellite will test new technologies, such as space environmental monitoring, according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC). The satellite was developed by China’s Academy of Space Technology in only eight months and established a record for mid- to large-size, remote-sensing, satellite builds.
The country expects to launch three to five Long March 7A rockets every year before 2025, according to CASC. This was the 362nd flight mission of China’s Long March rocket series.