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China to launch 10 satellites in 2004

PLA Daily 2004-01-15

BEIJING, Jan. 14 (Xinhuanet) -- China plans to launch 10 satellites this year while preparing for the country's second manned space flight and starting development of the country's first lunar-probing satellite, a top space official said Wednesday.

Zhang Qingwei, general manager of the China Space Science and Technology Corp, the country's major rocket and satellite producer,said the 10 will be rocketed into space atop nine rockets later this year from Jiuquan, Xichang and Taiyuan space launch centers.

Zhang, also vice-chief-commander of the country' manned space project, said the 10 satellites include a geospace-probing satellite to be launched in the second quarter of this year, and ameteorological satellite.

The geospace-probing satellite, the second of its kind, is partof China's Double Star Space Program designed to probe important areas of two magnetic fields of geospace which have never been covered by any satellites, comprising the earth's magnetic field, ionosphere and middle to high layers of atmosphere.

China successfully put the first geospace-probing satellite, Probe I, in orbit on Dec. 30, 2003.

The program, in partnership with the European Space Agency, will enable scientists to have better understanding of the incidence and development of space storms in a bid to improve safety for space activities.

The general manager said the corporation will begin developmentof a powerful communications satellite this year, which is scheduled to be launched in 2005.

Sun Laiyan, deputy director of the China National Space Administration, said late last month that China plans to launch its three-part unmanned lunar probing program this year, which includes a planned launch of a lunar satellite by 2007.

That will be followed by the landing of an unmanned vehicle on the moon by 2010 and collecting samples of lunar soil by 2020.

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