China Friday said it launched one of its most powerful rockets in a major step forward for its planned mission to Mars in 2020.
The rocket, named Long March-5, blasted off from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in south China's Hainan Province. The launch was livestreamed on state television.
"After more than 2,000 seconds, the Shijian 20 satellite was sent into its predetermined orbit," the official Xinhua news agency reported.
The rocket launch "tests key technologies related to future space missions," it added.
China plans to have a space station by 2022 to replace the International Space Station, which is due to be retired in 2024.