China launched two scientific experiment satellites into space from a north China space center atop a Long March 4-B rocket carrier earlier Thursday.
The rocket lifted off at 7:14 (Beijing Time) from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Shanxi Province.
Sources from the Xi'an Satellite Tracking Center said one of the satellites, SJ-6A scientific experiment satellite, separated from the rocket 11 minutes after flight, and the other one, SJ-6B scientific experiment satellite, disengaged from the carrier one minute later.
With a designed life of at least two years, the two satellites would be used to probe space environment, radiation, its effects and space physical environment parameters, and conduct other related space experiments, sources said.
Thursday's launch is the 79th flight of China's Long March rocket carriers and the 37th consecutive successful one of the vehicle since October of 1996.
The two satellites were made by the Shanghai Academy of Space Flight Technology and Dongfanghong Satellite Co. under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, said the sources.
The geospace probing systems aboard the satellites were mainly manufactured by the China Electronics Technology Corporation.
Space experts said China has launched six types of its SJ scientific experiment satellites since 1971, when its first scientific experiment satellite, or SL-1, was boosted into space.
They said the technological upgrading of the probing systems and the satellites during the past 33 years facilitated the development of the country's satellite-based remote sensing science, which contributed to the country's space exploitation and experiments, and applied space experiments.
(Xinhua News Agency September 9, 2004)