China successfully launched a Long March 2D vehicle carrying four satellites, Xinjishu Shiyan-C, Xinjishu Shiyan-D Xinjishu Shiyan-E and Xinjishu Shiyan-F – more commonly known as XJS-C, XJS-D, XJS-E and XJS-F respectively – at 2107 GMT on 19 February from the Xichang Space Centre in China.

Long March 4D carrying four XJS satellites makes very rare launch from Xichang. Courtesy: Xinhua


The satellites will be used to carry out inter satellite networking and new Earth Observation technology tests. The XJS-C & D satellites were made by SAST, XJS-E was made by the Harbin Institute of Technology, and XJS-F was made by CAST’s DFH Satellite Co.

This launch was unusual as it the first launch of a Long March 2D (CZ-2D) from the Xichang launch site in the Sichuan province of China which more normally hosts Long March 3 series launches.  Long March 2D rockets normally fly out of Jiuquan Space Centre in Inner Mongolia or occasionally from Taiyuan in Shanxi.

David Todd contributed to this report.