China launches two satellites into orbit

Updated: 2006-10-24 09:31

China's Space Activities in 2006
White paper on space activities issued

Beijing - China launched two satellites into space on Tuesday aboard a Long March-4B carrier rocket, the Xinhua news agency reported, the latest step in the country's space program.

A Long March 4-B carrier rocket carrying two satellites takes off at Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in north China's Shanxi Province October 24, 2006. The two satellites will be mainly used for space environment exploration, Xinhua reported.[Xinhua]

Both satellites successfully entered their orbits after an early morning lift-off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in the northern province of Shanxi.

The two Shijian-6 satellites are designed to explore space environments, radiation and to carry out related experiments.

China launched its first satellite in 1970 aboard a Long March rocket.

Since then, analysts estimate it has launched 50 satellites, which Sun Laiyan, the head of China's National Space Administration, has said help with weather forecasting and developing seeds that breed superior crops.

In 2003, China put a man in space, becoming only the third country to achieve the feat after the United States and the former Soviet Union. The country launched a second manned space flight last year, and plans a space walk by 2008.