Tue, Oct 30, 2018 - Page 6 News List

China, France launch first joint satellite

MORE COOPERATION:A Japanese rocket carrying the United Arab Emirates’ first locally made satellite also lifted off from a space center in southern Japan

AFP and AP, BEIJING and TOKYO

A Long March 2C rocket lifts off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan in northwest China’s Gansu Province yesterday.

Photo: AFP

China yesterday sent its first-ever satellite built in partnership with another country into space, a device tasked with helping scientists better predict dangerous cyclones and climate change by monitoring ocean surface winds and waves.

A Long March 2C carrier rocket blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China’s Gobi Desert at 00:43am GMT, China’s State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense said.

The 650kg China-France Oceanography Satellite, the first satellite jointly built by China and France, aims to help climate scientists to better understand interactions between oceans and the atmosphere.

It is fitted with two radars: the French-made SWIM spectrometer, which is to measure the direction and the wavelength of waves, and China’s SCAT, a scatterometer that is to analyze the force and direction of winds.

The data collected are to be analyzed in both countries.

The instruments will allow scientists to collect information about winds and waves of the same location simultaneously for the first time, said Wang Lili (王麗麗), chief designer of the satellite at the China Academy of Space Technology, according to Xinhua news agency.

“It will help increase the observation and prediction of catastrophic sea states, such as huge waves and tropical storms, and provide security support for offshore operations and engineering, ship navigation, fisheries, and coastal management,” said Zhao Jian (趙堅), a senior official at the China National Space Administration.

The rocket successfully put the satellite into orbit 520km above the Earth.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) and French President Emmanuel Macron exchanged congratulations in a phone call, according to Xinhua.

“It’s historic. It’s the first satellite China has made through international cooperation,” French National Center for Space Studies president Jean-Yves Le Gall said.

“This satellite will help make considerable progress in understanding climate change,” he said.

The project began in 2007. The two nations are also working together on the Space Variable Objects Monitor (SVOM) mission, which is to launch a satellite in 2021 to detect and study gamma-ray bursts.

China and France already cooperate in space, with a French cardiovascular device aboard China’s Tiangong-2 space lab to monitor a crew’s hearts. The lab is expected to de-orbit after July next year.

Le Gall said France is also working with China on cooperating in exploration missions to the moon and Mars.

China plans to have a crewed space station by 2022 and send a manned mission to the moon in the future.

In related news, a Japanese rocket carrying the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) first locally made satellite yesterday lifted off from a space center in southern Japan.

The KhalifaSat Earth observation satellite was launched by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency from its Tanegashima Space Center.

The H-2A rocket is also carrying an Ibuki-2 greenhouse gas observation satellite for Japan. The launch is part of the UAE’s ambition under its fledging space program.

The nation aims to send its first two astronauts to the International Space Station next year.

The UAE also aims to send a probe on its way to Mars in 2020 and to build a science city there by 2117.

Japan also aims to expand its commercial satellite launch services by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and make them globally competitive.

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