China launches 300th Long March
The Chinese launcher family, the first of which entered service in April 1970, has performed its 300th mission, following the successful launch of a new geostationary telecommunications satellite.
China reached the symbolic 300-launch mark on 9th March. At 16:28 UTC, a Long March 3B/G2 blasted off from the Xichang space centre in southwest China carrying Chinasat 6C (ZhongXing 6C) a new high-speed geostationary communications satellite for state-owned satellite operator China Satcom.
It was China's third mission of the year and the 300th flight of a Long March launcher, including all versions, since the inaugural Chinese space mission on 24th April 1970.
On that date, an 81t Long March 1 placed a 173kg technology testbed, Dong Fang Hong 1 (“The East is red”), into a medium Earth orbit (442 x 2,046 km), marking China's consecration as the world's fifth space power.
Since then, the 17 different versions of the Long March family have placed more than 500 payloads in orbit. The LM 3B has performed 55 flights since February 1996.