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China on Friday evening successfully launched its heavy-lift Long March 5 rocket.

This is a key step forward of the country in its ambitious space programme after a series of setbacks.

Also known as the CZ-5, the rocket blasted off from a launch pad at the Wenchang centre in Hainan province with more than 1,000 tonnes of thrust at 8.45pm, South China Morning Post reported.

The Chinese space authorities declared the mission a “complete success” half an hour after the lift off when the Shijian-20 satellite it carried entered its designated orbit.

Wang Yu, chief commander of the launch mission, said after more than two years’ effort… the research and development team has overcome challenges in engine technology.

The launch will help to ensure that key technology to be used in subsequent missions works properly, including the Long March 5’s systems.

“The new satellite will bring China’s communication technology to a new era,” said Zhou Zhicheng, chief commander of the Dongfanghong-5 satellite platform.

It was China’s 34th and final space launch of the year, more than any other country, including the United States which carried out 27.

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