China lofts Yaogan spy satellites on 500th Long March rocket launch (video)

China launched a new trio of reconnaissance satellites over the weekend on a mission that also marked the 500th Long March rocket launch.

A Long March 2D rocket lifted off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center at 8:58 p.m. EST on Dec. 9 (0158 GMT, or 9:58 a.m. Beijing time, Dec. 10). The rocket rose into blue skies above the hills surrounding the spaceport, trailing a purple and orange exhaust plume produced by its hypergolic propellant mix.