China to launch satellites to probe `space environment`

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.

Last Updated: Oct 05, 2010, 21:53 PM IST

Beijing: 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 today 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 today, 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.

PTI