China Completes Record Launch Year With Successful Flight

Long March 4C lifts off from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on Dec. 27, 2020.

China completed a busy year that saw the nation tie its own record for launch attempts with the successful orbiting of a remote sensing satellite and a secondary nanosat on Sunday.

A Long March 4C rocket lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center at 11:44 p.m.. local time carrying the Yaogan Weixing-33 (R) spacecraft. The spacecraft will be “mainly used for scientific experiment research, marine and land resource surveys and other tasks,” the China National Space Administration (CNSA) said.

Yaogan Weixing-33 (R) is the replacement for a similarly named remote sensing satellite that was lost due to the failure of a Long March 4C booster in May 2019.

A scientific research satellite named Weina Jishu Shiyan was also placed into orbit on Sunday as a secondary payload.

The successful flight was the last of 39 launch attempts for 2020 and the final one in the nation’s 13th Five-Year Plan, CNSA said. China finished the year with 35 successes and four failures.

The 39 launch attempts tied the national record China set in 2018. The nation finished that year with a record of 38 successes and one failure.

China finished second in launch attempts behind the United States in 2020, which completed the year with 40 successes and four failures.

Sunday’s mission was the 69th launch of the Long March 4C booster and the 357th launch of the Long March family of rockets.