China blasts off first data relay satelliteApril 26th, 2008 - 1:18 am ICT by admin
Beijing, April 25 (Xinhua) China launched the country’s first data relay satellite Tianlian I Friday night. The satellite was launched on a Long March-3C carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in southwest China’s Sichuan Province at 11.35 p.m. (local time).
The satellite, however, will not go into function until the Shenzhou VII mission scheduled for the second half of 2008. It has been developed by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.
It will improve the amount of data that can be transferred between the Shenzhou VII spaceship and the ground, according to Zhang Jianqi, a top official with China’s space programmes.
“The Yuanwang space tracking ships along with China’s over 10 ground observation stations can only cover 12 percent of Shenzhou VII spaceship’s orbit in the space,” Jianqi said.
The Tianlian I satellite alone, according to Zhang, can cover 50 percent of the orbit of Shenzhou VII, or any other China’s spacecrafts.
With the help of the satellite, scientists can get more scientific data without delay, and can know when a malfunction takes place on China’s spacecrafts much faster, said Zhang.
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