China and Russia successfully launch satellites

Washington DC
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A Long March 2D rocket launched from Jiuquan, China has successfully inserted an Earth observation satellite into orbit, while a Russian Soyuz 2 launched from Plesetsk is inserting the latest addition to the Glonass navigation constellation.

The Long March 2D launched Gaofen 1, a scientific Earth observation satellite, on behalf of China's government on 26 April. Reports from China indicate three small rideshare satellites, including Ecuador's first operational satellite, were successfully deployed. Flightglobal's Ascend Online database reveals it is the 175th Long March launch.

The Soyuz launch, also on 26 April, was still under way as we published this story. The Fregat upper stage has several burns and intervening periods of coasting to go before reaching mid-Earth orbit. The first two stages operated successfully, says Russian space agency Roscosmos.

The mission comes only two days after a Soyuz launch from Baikonur, which successfully put a Progress resupply capsule into orbit. The capsule, which suffered an antenna deployment failure on separating from the rocket, has successfully docked with the International Space Station. The latest launch marks Soyuz's 1,748th flight.