BEIJING (AP) _ China put a 5,000-pound communications satellite into orbit Wednesday, using one of its biggest rockets for the launching, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
The Long March 3A rocket lifted off from the Xichang launching center in southwestern China at 12:45 a.m. and put the Zhongxing-22 satellite in orbit 30 minutes later, Xinhua said.
The domestically made satellite will be used for ground communications and supervised by China Telecommunications and Broadcasting Satellite Corp., Xinhua said.
The Taiwanese Defense Ministry issued a brief statement saying it was familiar with the satellite and that it posed no threat to Taiwan. China and the island of Taiwan have been ruled separately since civil war in 1949, but Beijing says they eventually must reunite.
The launching was the fourth for the Long March 3A since its debut six years ago, Xinhua said. China’s state-run aerospace industry plans to use the rocket next year to send up an Italian-made telecommunications satellite, the first time the Long March 3A will be used on an international launch.
For a decade, China has hoped that its cheaper launch services would attract foreign capital and spur development in its aerospace industry.
But its aspirations were set back by a string of failures in the mid-1990s, including the explosion of a Long March 3B rocket seconds after liftoff that killed six people on the ground.