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Xichang Space Launch Site Celebrates 200th Mission with Geely-02 Satellite Deployment
File image of a Long March-2C launching at Xichang.
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Xichang Space Launch Site Celebrates 200th Mission with Geely-02 Satellite Deployment
by Simon Mansfield
Sydney, Australia (SPX) Feb 05, 2024

China's Xichang Satellite Launch Center, located in the southwestern province of Sichuan, marked a significant milestone on Saturday by successfully completing its 200th launch mission. This achievement cements the Xichang space launch site's position as the fastest of China's inland launch sites to reach this number of missions.

The landmark 200th mission was carried out at 7:37 am (Beijing Time) when a Long March-2C carrier rocket lifted off, carrying the 11 Geely-02 constellation satellites into their predetermined orbit. This event not only highlights the capabilities of the Long March-2C rocket but also showcases the ongoing expansion and sophistication of China's space endeavors.

Since its first launch in 1984, the Xichang Launch Center has been a cornerstone of China's space exploration efforts. The center's inaugural mission involved a Long March carrier rocket deploying the Dongfanghong-2 experimental communications satellite, setting the stage for decades of space exploration and technological advancement.

Over the years, Xichang has facilitated a range of pivotal missions, including launches of satellites, lunar probes like Chang'e-1, and the first BeiDou navigation satellite, contributing significantly to China's stature in the global aerospace community.

China operates three inland satellite launch centers: the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the northwest, the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in the north, and the Xichang site in the southwest. Additionally, the coastal Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site, also under the auspices of the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, is situated in Hainan province.

This strategic distribution of launch sites enables China to execute a diverse array of space missions, from deploying geosynchronous satellites to supporting deep space exploration and space station construction.

Established in 1970, the Xichang Satellite Launch Center's primary mission has been to launch geosynchronous-orbit satellites. However, its scope has expanded significantly to include a variety of space launch missions. The center's capacity for intensive launch schedules is a testament to its ongoing commitment to technological innovation and capability enhancement.

The Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site, in concert with Xichang, has also played a critical role in China's space achievements, including the maiden flight of the country's new-generation high-thrust carrier rocket, its first planetary exploration mission, and the construction of the Chinese space station. These accomplishments underscore the comprehensive capabilities of the Xichang Satellite Launch Center's launch sites.

Based on a Xinhua News Agency article

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China National Space Agency
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