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Second "Double Star" Completes Satellite Fleet for Exploration of the Earth's Magnetosphere

* Succsessful Launch on 25 July in China
* EADS Astrium-built instruments
* Joint mission with Cluster spacecraft

Friedrichshafen, 26 July 2004

The second "Double Star" research satellite was placed into orbit on Sunday morning (25 July), carrying European instruments built by EADS Astrium’s satellite specialists in Friedrichshafen. The launch with a Long March 2C/SM booster occurred at 9:05:18 h (CEST) from the Tai Yuan Launch Centre in China’s Shanxi Province.

Double Star is the first scientific space technology project carried out jointly by the European Space Agency ESA and the Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA). The two-satellite mission will investigate the Earth's magnetosphere and its interaction with solar wind. The two Double Star spacecraft will also complete the flotilla of four Cluster research satellites by simultaneously tmaking identical measurements, but in different locations. EADS Astrium was also prime contractor for ESA's Cluster programme. The four Cluster satellites have been successfully operating on orbit since the summer of 2000.

Francois Auque, CEO of EADS SPACE, declared: "We congratule the CNSA for this remarkable success. We are very proud that European industry contibutes to this achievement thanks to the initiative of ESA. It is a significant example of cooperation between China and Europe in fundamental Science."

The Double Star satellites have a total of 16 scientific instruments on board, eight of which are from Europe. With one exception, the European instruments are all flight spares from the Cluster programme. They have been refurbished and upgraded for the Double Star mission. On ESA’s behalf, EADS Astrium GmbH has co-ordinated the procurement and modification of the European instruments for thisthe new mission. Furthermore, highly skilled EADS Astrium engineers have monitored and supported satellite integration and system-level tests in China.

The first Double Star spacecraft was launched on 30 December 2003 from the Xichang Launch Centre (Sichuan Province) and placed into a quasi-equatorial orbit (569/79.095 km). By contrast, the second spacecraft is now operating from a polar orbit (681/38,279 km).

EADS Astrium is Europe's leading satellite specialist. Its activities cover complete civil and military telecommunications and Earth observation systems, science and navigation programmes, and all spacecraft avionics and equipment. EADS Astrium is a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS SPACE, which is dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems. In 2003, EADS SPACE had a turnover of more than 2.4 billion euros and about 12,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain.

EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2003, EADS generated revenues of 30.1 billion euros and employed a workforce of more than 100,000.

Friedrichshafen, July 26, 2004/04022

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