It took 37 years for the Long March rockets to complete the first 100 launches, 7.5 years to complete the second 100 launches, and only about four years to accomplish the final 100, with the average number of launches per year increasing from 2.7 to 13.3 and then to 23.5, Xinhua reported in 2019.

The missile launch comes on the heels of the launch of a new spacecraft which many initially dubbed as a missile test. China later clarified that it was merely a test to see whether the vehicle could be reused.

Alongside its space program, China’s expansion into hypersonic missile technology and other advanced fields has raised concerns in countries like the United States as Beijing becomes increasingly assertive over its claims to seas and islands in the South China and East China Seas and to large chunks of territory along its disputed high-mountain border with India.

China’s space program is run by its military and is closely tied to its agenda of building hypersonic missiles and other technologies that could alter the balance of power with the United States.