China has put into orbit its first public-welfare mini satellite, Chinese official news agency Xinhua reported.
Hope I was launched from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in northern Shanxi Province along with a remote-sensing satellite Yaogan VIII both on board a Long March 4C carrier rocket.
The satellite will be used by students in China to study and experience aerospace science and technology.
China plans to send a manned mission to the Moon by 2020 and subsequently build a lunar base to send missions to other planets in the Solar System, such as Mars. By 2050, China plans to develop and launch a research probe outside the Solar System.
A Chinese astronaut conducted the country's first spacewalk in September 2008, making China the third country in the world after Russia and the United States to send a man into open space.
BEIJING, December 15 (RIA Novosti)