China launches new data relay satellite

China blasted off a new data relay satellite “Tianlian I-02” on Monday at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest Sichuan Province.

The satellite was launched on a Long March-3C carrier rocket at 11:41 p.m. (Beijing Time), said sources with the center.

Developed by the China Academy of Space Technology under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, the satellite is the country’s second data relay satellite.

China launched its first data relay satellite “Tianlian I-01” on April 25, 2008.

The two satellites will form a network to offer data relay and measurement and control service for China’s spacecrafts and planned space stations, according to the center.

They will also be used to help perform the nation’s first space docking, scheduled for the second half of 2011.

China plans to launch Tiangong-1 and Shenzhou-8 spacecraft in the latter half of this year, and they will perform the nation’s first space docking.

Monday’s launch is the 140th mission of China’s Long March series of rockets.

Source: Global Times

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