Beijing: China on Sunday successfully launched a remote sensing satellite into space, stepping up its efforts to keep up with its schedule to put 100 satellites in space by 2015.

The mapping satellite, Tianhui I-02 was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China's Gansu province using a Long March 2-D carrier rocket.

A similar satellite, the Tianhui I, was launched into space in 2010.

The satellite, developed and produced by a company under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), will mainly be used to conduct scientific experiments, carry out land resource surveys and map territory, an agency quoted an official statement as saying.

The mission marked the 161st launch for the Long March rocket family since 1970.

China launched 19 satellites last year surpassing the United States' 18 to become World number two after Russia, which launched thirty six.

Early this month, China successfully launched double navigational satellites through one rocket.

It was the first time that China has launched two navigation satellites with one rocket.

"Two such launches are planned for this year... Otherwise, four navigation satellites would need four rockets, which would be more time-consuming," Jiang Jie, chief designer of the mission's launch carrier system.

The future trend is a carrier rocket capable of launching four satellites at one time, she said.

Last March, China announced an ambitious expansion of its space programme to launch "100 rockets, 100 satellites" by 2015.

On average, China will complete about 20 launch missions each year before 2015, Zhang Jianheng, deputy general manager of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp (CASC) said.

Zhang told official media recently that CASC raked in USD 15.87 billion) in operating income in 2011, bringing the company's total assets to more than USD 32 billion.

The new space missions included launching the third lunar probe, Chang'e-3 next year and conduct a moon landing and lunar explorations.

China launched the Chang'e-1 in 2007 and the Chang'e-2 2010.


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