China launches recoverable satellite
BEIJING (AFP) Nov 03, 2003
China Monday launched a recoverable satellite aboard a Long March 2-D carrier rocket to conduct scientific and "other" research, state press reported.

The satellite was sent into its preset orbit after being launched at 3:20 pm (07:20 GMT) local time and was operating normally, Xinhua news agency said.

The mission was mainly for scientific and "other" research, with the satellite carrying land surveying and mapping equipment, it added.

The launch took place from the Jiuquan Satellite Launching Center in northwest China where on October 15 China's first man was sent into space.

That successful launch made China only the third country after Russia and the United States to send a man into orbit with astronaut Yang Liwei circling the Earth 14 times in a successful 21 hour flight.

China also launched an earth resources satellite on October 21 in cooperation with Brazil.

"The number of launches in such short a period is unprecedented in the country's history, indicating the country's progress in launch capability and development of launch vehicles and spacecraft," Xinhua said.

Monday's flight was China's 18th launch of a recoverable satellite.

The vessel is expected to collect research for 18 days before returning to earth.

It was also the 73rd launch of a Long March series rocket since 1970 and the 31st consecutive successful launch, the report said.