New carrier rocket sets China record
China staged the maiden flight of its latest Long March-6 rocket, taking 20 satellites into space, a record for the most launched by a single Chinese rocket.
The launch on Sunday, which took place at the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Shanxi province, also marked the first use of a new-generation, ecofriendly engine. As a “highspeed response” launch vehicle, the Long March-6 is the country’s first new rocket in more than 20 years.
Most of the satellites are miniature, with the smallest weighing less than 100 grams. Their main missions are to demonstrate China’s advanced space technologies through various tests..
The world record for the most satellites sent into space in a single launch is held by Russia’s Dnepr rocket — a converted Soviet-era SS-18 Satan intercontinental ballistic missile. It carried 37 satellites on a mission in June last year.
The United States’ multi-satellite launch record was set in January last year when Orbital Sciences Corp, which is now part of Orbital ATK Inc, sent 33 miniature satellites and a cargo spacecraft into orbit.