Pushing ahead with a space program that has won international acclaim, China launched a satellite on Tuesday as part of its first joint initiative with the European Space Agency to help track storms in space.
Probe No. 1, an equatorial orbiting satellite, blasted off atop a Long March 2C/SM carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China’s Sichuan province, the official Xinhua news agency said.
China’s highest orbiting satellite ever launched, part of the Sino-European Double Star project, was expected to remain in orbit for 18 months to track space storms and help improve the safety of space missions, it said.
Probe No. 2, a polar-orbiting satellite, is due to be propelled into orbit next year, it said.
China designed and assembled the satellite, while eight scientific research institutes from Europe helped develop its scientific equipment, it said.
Fast-growing China has sent a handful of research satellites into orbit since becoming the world’s third nation to successfully send a man into space in October this year.
A single Chinese astronaut orbited the Earth 14 times on a mission that lasted just under a day.