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China Launches Earth Observation Satellite

China successfully launched into the space satellite Land Surveying Satellite (LKW-2) on Saturday, December 23, on board the Long March 2D rocket ("The Great March 2D"). The rocket was launched from pad No. 4 of the Chinese Jiuquan Cosmodrome, located in Gansu Province, exactly at 4:14 UTC on December 23. The successful launch was confirmed one hour later by the official news agency of the People's Republic of China, Xinhua. The launch of this mission took place in an atmosphere of the utmost secrecy, so the exact time of operations conducted during the flight remains unknown. Probably, the total duration of the mission - from launching the rocket to launching the satellite into orbit - was approximately 10 minutes. The first stage of the Long March 2D missile consumed fuel in about 3 minutes after the launch. During the remaining seven minutes, the second stage of the rocket moved under control, which resulted in the release of a payload to a low Earth orbit at an altitude of about 500 kilometers above the planet's surface.

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