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Satellite Sent Into Orbit From Taiyuan

China successfully sent an earth resource satellite, the second ZY-2, into orbit yesterday with a Chinese Long-March IV-B carrier rocket.

The rocket blasted off at 11:17 am yesterday from the Taiyuan Launching Center in North China's Shanxi Province. Sources said the satellite is operating smoothly.

The launch was made on a sunny day. A little more than 10 minutes later, the 45-metre-long carrier rocket and the satellite were separated. Soon after that, the Satellite Monitoring Center in Xi'an, capital of Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, reported that the satellite had entered its solar-synchronous orbit and was in good condition.

The new satellite is a transmitting-type remote sensing satellite developed by the Chinese Institute of Space Technology under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Company Group. It is mainly intended for territorial surveys, environment monitoring and protection, urban planning, crop yield assessment, disaster monitoring and scientific experiments in space.

China launched a satellite of the same type in September 2000, the first ZY-2, which is still operating normally. Chinese scientists said the new satellite is superior to the previous one in its overall properties and technological level.

The Long-March IV-B carrier rocket was developed by the Shanghai Aerospace Technology Research Institute under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Company Group. It has been launched successfully four times before.

According to a Chinese expert in charge of the monitoring of such launches, China has formed a complete and modern system for aerospace launching.

He said China's three aerospace launching sites in Jiuquan (Gansu Province), Taiyuan (Shanxi Province) and Xichang (Sichuan Province) now are capable of launching spacecraft into high, medium and low orbits. In addition, China put a manned spacecraft launching site into official use in 1998.

China has also established an internationally advanced aerospace monitoring system based on both land and sea.

(China Daily October 28, 2002)