China launches new Long March 8 rocket

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China has successfully launched a new Long March 8 rocket into space for the first time, parts of which, such as the boosters, will be able to be reused in the future.

The over 50-metre-high, modular rocket lifted off from the Wenchang Space Centre on the southern Chinese island of Hainan on Tuesday carrying several smaller satellites to be released in space.

Another part that should be able to be reused in the future include the first rocket stage that can land vertically back on the Earth again a day after a launch.

The Long March 8 has a load capacity between 2.8 and 5 tonnes, depending on the orbit that it's targeting.

Shortly after lift-off, the control centre announced that the flight was going normally and that the first attempt at lift-off had been "a complete success," as state television reported.

Five smaller satellites had been placed into exactly their planned orbits.

China is pursuing an ambitious space program, with missions to the Moon and Mars as well as the construction of its own space station in the coming years.

Last Thursday, a Chinese space capsule carrying 2 kilograms of samples from the moon's surface successfully landed back on Earth, making China only the third spacefaring nation to have brought lunar samples to Earth, after the United States and the Soviet Union.

It was the first time in 44 years that lunar soil and rocks were brought back to Earth.