A communications satellite, AsiaSat-6, was sent into space atop the Long March 3B rocket from the launch center in Xichang in southwest China's Sichuan Province at 8 PM on Tuesday.
A spokesperson for the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology said it was the 84th successful flight for Long March since its maiden voyage in 1970 and the 42nd consecutive one since October 1996.
The launch, for Hong Kong-based APT Satellite Limited, represents the return of Chinese rockets to the international commercial launch market after an absence of seven years, said the spokesperson.
AsiaSat-6, which has 50 transponders, will replace AsiaSat-1 A and will be followed by the launch of another satellite for APT Satellite, AsiaSat-6B.
(Xinhua News Agency April 13, 2005)