China successfully launches Long March 6A for the first time

China today successfully completed the first launched of its Long March 6A rocket, upgraded significantly from earlier versions of the Long March 6.

The launch also debuted a new launchpad at China’s Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in the country’s interior. The two payloads deployed appear to be technology tests, though China provided little information.

The launch of the Long March 6A also sported four solid rocket strap-on boosters. With these and the core first stage all crashing on land in China, there was no word whether any had any technology for controlling their landings.

The leaders in the 2022 launch race:

11 SpaceX
7 China
4 Russia
2 ULA

The U.S. now leads China 17 to 7 in the national rankings.