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China to Launch First Space Telescope


China plans to launch its first space telescope, or the Chinese version of Hubble, into orbit in 2005, one of the country's top scientists announced Wednesday.

"China will complete the project of its own space telescope in 2005, which will make the country one of the world's leaders in astronomy," said Lu Yongxiang, president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

Meanwhile, in order to concentrate China's top astronomical talents, CAS Wednesday combined the country's eight major observatories into a national one.

According to the research plan of the National Astronomical Observatories (NAOC), scientists are scheduled to build a radio telescope with a lens diameter of 2.3 meters, while completing the project for the Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopy Telescope (LAMOST).

The telescope will focus on galaxy formation and evolution, as well as solar activities and the causes of climate disasters.

In addition, the NAOC will provide a precise astronomical almanac of the Asian and Pacific Region for other countries.

(Xinhua 04/25/2001)

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