China lofts Earth observation satellite

Posted: October 27, 2002

China launched the next in a series of satellites Sunday to examine the environment and other Earth resources, the Chinese Xinhua news agency reported.

Liftoff of the Long March 4B rocket occurred at 0317 GMT (11:17 p.m. EDT Saturday) from the Taiyun satellite launch center in northern China.

Shrouded inside the launcher's nose cone was the second Zi Yuan-2 spacecraft to observe China's natural resources and disasters.

Other types of research range from studying crops to evaluating impacts and damage to the environment will also be carried out. Land uses and water bodies will also be surveyed and monitoried, and city planners will gain a new tool with the newly launched spacecraft, reports said.

Officials say that the second ZY-2 satellite was operating as expected shortly after arriving in orbit, according to Xinhua.

If similar in design to earlier Zi Yuan satellites, the second ZY-2 craft has a mass of over 3,000 pounds and features a single solar array.

This craft was preceded over two years ago by the launch of the first ZY-2 remote sensing satellite in September 2000. However, experts outside China speculated that the first ZY-2 was instead a military spy satellite. Chinese scientists denied the accusation.

ZY-1 was lofted into space in October 1999.

Sunday's launch marked the 68th successful flight of a Long March variant, Xinhua said. It was also the first successful Chinese orbital launch since May.

The ultimate Apollo 11 DVD
NEW 3-DISC EDITION This exceptional chronicle of the historic Apollo 11 lunar landing mission features new digital transfers of film and television coverage unmatched by any other.

Hubble Calendar
NEW! This remarkable calendar features stunning images of planets, stars, gaseous nebulae, and galaxies captured by NASA's orbiting Hubble Space Telescope.

Apollo 15 DVDs
Bring a unique piece of space history to your living room. Two- and six-disc Apollo 15 DVDs will be shipping soon.

Astronomy Now presents Hubble: the space telescope's view of the cosmos. A collection of the best images from the world’s premier space observatory.