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China launches satellite using 200th Long March carrier rocket

A file photo of Long March-4B rocket launch.

BEIJING (PTI): China's aging 'Long March' carrier rockets has touched the 200th landmark after its upgraded version successfully put a multi-purpose satellite into orbit, setting a better safety record than Russia and the US.

The 200th launch of the Long March rocket occurred on Sunday when China successfully put the CBERS-4 satellite using a Long March-4B rocket.

CBERS-4 is jointly developed by China and Brazil. It is the fifth satellite of the Chinese-Brazilian Earth Resource Satellite (CBERS) programme which began in 1988.

In November 2002, the governments of China and Brazil decided to expand the initial agreement by including another two satellites - CBERS-3, lost in a launch mishap in December 2013, and CBERS-4 - as the second generation of the Sino-Brazilian cooperation effort.

CBERS-4 satellite can be used for monitoring, planning and management of land, forestry, water conservancy, environmental protection and agriculture.

The first satellite of the programme, CBERS-1, was launched in October 1999 with the second and third, CBERS-2 and CBERS-2B, launched in 2003 and 2007.

There is an agreement to build CBERS-5, which is expected to be launched in 2017, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Sunday's mission was the 200th flight of the Long March carrier rocket family since April 24, 1970 when a Long March-1 successfully carried China's first satellite, Dongfanghong-1, into space.

China started work on carrier rockets in 1956. Long March rockets have since become the main carriers for satellite and spacecraft launches, taking more than 250 into space.

Lei Fanpei, Chairman of China Aerospace Science and Technolog} Corporation (CASC), the main contragtor æor the space programmes, told Xinhua that the Long March rockets will make at least another 100 launches in tje next seven years.

There were seven failures in the first 100 launches. In the second 100 launches since 2007, there wåre just two failures, a safety record that is better than those of the US a~d Russia, Lei said.


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