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UPDATED: 14:19, June 25, 2004
China launches two new satellites
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China successfully sent two new satellites into space early Monday with a Long March II C carrier rocket.

The rocket was launched at 11:59 p.m. Sunday at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center based in southwest China's Sichuan Province.

The launch indicated a technological breakthrough in the country's development of small satellites, Chinese space scientists said. The two satellites will be used for scientific experiments.

About a dozen minutes after lift-off, the carrier rocket first released the "Experiment Satellite I" and then "Nano-satellite I" 30 seconds later.

Data from the Xi'an Satellite Monitoring and Control Center showed that the satellites were orbiting as designed and the launch was a success.

The Experiment Satellite I, with a weight of 204 kg, is China's first transmission-type small satellite capable of stereo mapping. It was jointly designed by the Harbin Polytechnic University, Chinese Research Institute of Space Technology, Changchun Photomechanical Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Xi'an Surveys and Designs Institute.

The experiment satellite will mainly be used to carry out photographic surveys of China's land resources, monitor geographical environment and conduct scientific research on mapping.

It will be handed over for use to the Satellite Remote-Sensing Ground Station of CAS following the satellite's orbit testing.

Nano-satellite I, with a weight of 25 kg, is designed for high-tech experiments. The satellite was developed and will be used by the elite Qinghua University and the Aerospace Qinghua Satellite Technologies Co. Ltd.

The Long March II C carrier rocket was developed by the China Institute of Carrier Rocket Technology. The latest launch was the 76th flight of Long March carrier rockets and the 34th successful launch in a row since October 1996.

Source: Xinhua

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