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Research satellite orbited by Chinese Long March rocket

Posted: June 15, 2010

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China successfully shot a scientific research satellite into orbit on a Long March rocket Monday, marking the country's fourth space launch of the year.

The satellite lifted off on a Long March 2D rocket at 0139 GMT Tuesday (9:39 p.m. Monday) from the Jiuquan space center near the border of northern China's Inner Mongolia and Gansu provinces, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

Launch occurred at 9:39 a.m. in China.

The 13-story rocket, powered by two hydrazine-fueled stages, delivered the Shijian 12 to an orbit over Earth's poles.

Tracking data showed the satellite was in an orbit with a low point of 357 miles, a high point of 371 miles and an inclination of 97.7 degrees.

Xinhua reported the spacecraft will be conducting a variety of experiments, inlcuding "space environment probe, measurement and communications."

The satellite was developed by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology, according to Xinhua.

China has previously launched Shijian satellites to test new technologies, carry out space experiments, measure the radiation environment in orbit and conduct other scientific research.

Shijian means "practice" in Chinese.

Monday's launch was the 12th flight of the Long March 2D rocket since 1992 and the 27th space launch to reach orbit worldwide this year.