China's ailing launcher programme received a boost in mid-October with the launch of a national remote-sensing satellite aboard the third Long March LM 2D booster, from Jiuquan.

The launch followed the failure of an LM3 to place the ChinaSat 7 into correct orbit in August (Flight International, 28 August-3 September). Although another LM3 launched the ApStar1A satellite successfully in July, China's 1996 launch effort had started badly with the catastrophic loss of its first LM3B model in February.

One more launch, of the national Dong Fang Hong DFH 3 communications satellite aboard an LM3A, has been scheduled to take place this year.

The LM2D's satellite, which was to have been recovered on 4 November, was the seventeenth in a series of imaging spacecraft. Phase 2-FSW craft will carry 10m-resolution cameras, which will also be used for military reconnaissance purposes.

China has planned eight launches for 1997.

Source: Flight International