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Experts say the launch of the first quantum satellite by the mainland will push forward the worldwide effort to develop the ability to send communications that cannot be penetrated by hackers.
State media reported on Tuesday that the satellite was launched into space from the Jiuquan launch base in the Gobi desert in northwestern China.
Mainland researchers will use it to transmit test messages between Beijing and northwestern China, as well as other locations around the world.
If the tests are successful, the mainland will take a major step toward building a worldwide network that can send messages that cannot be wiretapped or cracked through conventional methods.
The launch is a major triumph for China, which has spent years developing the satellite as part of an effort to build a global network of encrypted quantum communications.