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China launches rocket from ship at sea for first time

Beijing: China successfully launched a rocket from a ship at sea for the first time on Wednesday, state media reported, the latest step forward in its ambitious space programme.

The Long March 11 rocket blasted off from a platform on a large semi-submersible barge in the Yellow Sea just after midday (0400 GMT), state media said.

The small rocket, designed to be deployed quickly and from mobile launch sites such as a ship, carried seven satellites, including one that measures sea-surface winds to forecast typhoons.

The rocket also carried two communications satellites belonging to China 125, a Beijing-based technology company that plans to launch hundreds of satellites to provide global data networking services.

China has made its space programme a top priority in recent years as it races to catch up with the United States and become a major space power by 2030.

Beijing plans to begin construction of its own manned space station next year.

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