China just broke a national record by lifting 41 satellites into space

The global record, set by SpaceX in 2019, stands at 143 satellites launched by one rocket.
Chris Young
The Long March 2D rocket during launch.
The Long March 2D rocket during launch.


China broke its own record for the most satellites launched from the nation by a single rocket.

One of the country's Long March 2D rockets lifted off from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in north China on Thursday, June 15 at 1:30 am EDT (13:30 local time), lifting a batch of satellites into space.

In dramatic footage of the launch, many insulation tiles can be seen falling off the rocket as it makes its way into the sky, on its way to deploy 41 small satellites into low Earth orbit.

China's new satellite launch record

Before the June 15 launch, China's record for satellites launched by one mission stood at 26. That record was set only days before the Long March 2D mission by a Lijian 1 rocket developed by private space company CAS Space.

Long March 2D stands at 135 feet tall (41 meters) and can lift 2,866 pounds (1,300 kilograms) of payload to a sun-synchronous orbit.

The global record for the highest number of satellites lifted by a single rocket was set by SpaceX when it launched 143 satellites to orbit during a rideshare mission in January 2021 called Transporter-1.

The satellites lifted by the Long March 2D rocket were Jilin-1 GF06A0 satellites 1-30, Jilin-1GF03D 19-26, HEGS-1 and Jilin-1 PT02A01/02, all developed by China's commercial remote sensing satellite firm Changguang Satellite (CGST). According to a report by, CGST aims to put over 300 satellites in orbit by 2025. The company is a spin off of an institute that's part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and it's based in Jilin in northeast China.

China's rapid space progress

China is also developing an internet satellite constellation called "Guowang," or the national network, that is designed to rival SpaceX's Starlink constellation. The China National Space Administration (CNSA) recently announced that it will launch those satellites aboard its Long March 8 rocket, and it will boost its production capacity of the launch vehicles to help lift roughly 13,000 of the satellites to orbit.

China's space sector has made rapid progress in recent years, and the country recently announced it aims to send humans to the Moon by 2030 before eventually sending a crewed mission to Mars.

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