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China poised to launch satellites to probe 'space environment'

BEIJING (PTI): China is poised to launch two environmental research satellites, days after the launch of its second lunar probe as part of an ambitious space programme to put a man on the moon.

The two satellites of the "Shijian VI-04" group, which are designed to carry out "space environment probes", will be launched in the near future from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in north China's Shanxi province, the launch centre said Tuesday in a press release.

The satellites and the launch pad are in "good condition", and preparations have been proceeding well, it said.

The news of the launch of new satellites for "space environment probe", followed comments by a top Chinese space official that China is developing a deep space network with large antennae and communication facilities to support its future interplanetary missions, to be launched for the exploration of solar system.

China's own deep space network will take shape in the next three to five years to support its exploration projects of the solar system, said Qian Weiping, chief designer of the tracking and control system of Chang'e-II lunar probe, which was launched on October 1.

The deep space network consists of large antennae and communication facilities that support interplanetary missions, along with astronomical observations by radio and radar for the exploration of the solar system, he said,

Once the network was in place, "there will be no problem for China to carry out an exploration of the solar system".

Meanwhile, Chang’e-II has begun sending its readings to the ground centres Tuesday, state television reported.

The ground stations started receiving wide range of information including Gama radiation levels.

Also space official put off plans to effect second course correction for the probe as it was going according to the laid out path.

The is the first time Chinese lunar probe directly entered the earth-moon transfer orbit without orbiting the earth first in a bid to reduce travel time. It is expected to travel for about 112 hours, or almost five days, to arrive at the lunar orbit.

The satellite will eventually be maneuvered into an orbit just 15-km above the moon.

At that point, Chang'e-II will take pictures of moon's Bay of Rainbows area, the proposed landing ground for Chang'e-III that is planned to be launched in 2013.


China  Satellite  

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