The Long March-6 carrier rocket lifts off from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in north China's Shanxi Province at 7 a.m. Beijing time on September 20, 2015. [Photo: Xinhua]
China has successfully launched the country's first Long March-6 carrier rocket as well as 20 satellites on Sunday.
China Central Television (CCTV) reports that the carrier rocket lifted off from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in north China's Shanxi Province at 7 a.m. Beijing time.
The 20 satellites, including nine amateur radio satellites, were developed by a number of universities and space research institutes across China.
The satellites separated from the rocket 15 minutes after blasting off from Taiyuan.
The Long March-6 carrier rocket is the country's new generation of rocket families, featuring light capacity and high-speed response.
It is also China's first carrier rocket that uses fuel free of toxicity and pollution.
Developed by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology, the liquid-fuelled carrier rocket measures 29.3 meters in length and has a takeoff weight of 103 tons.
The light-lift rocket has only a modest lift capability of some 1080 kg.
However, the launch is crucial to China's new heavy-lift Long March-5 carrier rocket, an equivalent to the US-made Delta-IV Heavy.
The Long March-5 is set to boost its lift capacity by around three times and will be used to launch modules for the country's lunar project and space station.
The Long March-5 is scheduled to make its debut flight early next year.