Chinese rocket launches Turkish satellite

Washington DC
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A Chinese Long March 2D, launched on 18 December from Jiuquan in north-central China, has orbited a Turkish government payload.

The Gokturk-2 satellite successfully reached orbit, according to Chinese state media, though no official confirmation has yet been made of contact with the satellite.

Gokturk-2 contains a South Korea imaging system, capable of 2.5m resolution, aboard a Turkish-built satellite bus.

The launch, originally scheduled for 19 December, was pushed forward 24h to compensate for expected weather.

Gokturk-2's launch marks the 174th for China's Long March rockets, an evolving series of launch vehicles that first started launching in 1970. It marks the sixth launch this year for the Long March 2, and the 18th of all models in 2012.

Only one more launch - a Russian Soyuz to the International Space Station - is scheduled in 2012.