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Probe-2 satellite headed for July orbit
By Qin Chuan (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-06-25 01:34

China is to launch the second satellite for the Sino-European Double Star Programme at the end of July, a senior space administration official said Thursday in Beijing.

The satellite, TC-2 or Probe-2, and its launcher, a Long March 2C/SM rocket, passed examinations Thursday.

It is the first civil satellite to be sent up by China this year.

The Double Star mission, the first Sino-European project for probe satellites, involves two satellites flying in complementary orbits around the Earth.

The task of the mission is to probe how space storm happens and help improve the safety of space activities.

They will operate alongside four satellites from the Cluster II project, which the Europeans started in 2000 to study how solar winds affect the Earth.

The new satellite, a polar-range one, will be launched in Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in North China's Shanxi Province.

It was jointly designed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and five European research bodies organized by the European Space Agency.

Sun Laiyan, director of the China National Space Administration, Thursday urged relevant departments to spare no efforts in ensuring the smooth launch and normal operation of the satellite.

The launch and normal operation of the satellite will showcase China's ability of designing probe satellites and expand room for future international co-operation, he said.

The first satellite, Probe-1 or TC-1, was launched last December.

Since then it has been in good condition. In the past four months, Probe-1 has garnered a large quantity of data.

The launch of Probe-2 will be the 77th mission of the Long March series of rockets.

Since 1996, the Long March rockets have completed 34 consecutive missions without a flaw.

In addition to the Probe-2, China has planned to launch a meteorological satellite and a commercial communications satellite this year.

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