China to launch research satellite
( 2003-12-28 08:31) (chinadaily.com.cn)
China announced Saturday it would launch a research satellite in the coming week with the European Space Agency to study the Earth's magnetic fields.
The launch of Probe No. 1 is to take place Tuesday or Wednesday aboard a Chinese-made Long March 2C-SM rocket, the National Space Administration of China said.
The satellite is to be part of a pair called "Double Star" that are the first joint project between China and the ESA.
Probe No.1 will be the highest flying satellite China has ever launched. It will carry instruments provided by the ESA and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). The second satellite is due to be launched next year.
The two satellites of the "Double Star" project will probe important areas of two magnetic fields of the Earth's atmosphere, comprising the Earth's magnetic field, ionosphere and middle-to-high layers of the atmosphere.
The system will be capable of probing, in three dimensions, the incidence and development of space storms, in a bid to find ways to improve safety for space activities.
The two satellites in the project have been jointly designed by the Space echnology Institute of the China Aerospace Technology Corporation, CAS and eight European scientific research institutions. The carrier rocket was designed and built by the
Research Institute of Carrier Rocket Technology under the China Aerospace Technology Corporation.
China has been firing satellites into orbit since 1970, and on Oct. 15 launched its first manned space capsule.
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