China launches two satellites into orbit
Beijing, Oct 24: China launched two satellites into space today aboard a Long March-4B carrier rocket, the official Xinhua news agency reported, the latest step in its ambitious space programme.
Both satellites successfully entered their orbits after an early morning lift-off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in the northern province of Shanxi, Xinhua said.
The two Shijian-6 satellites are designed to explore space environments, radiation and to carry out related experiments.
China launched its first satellite in 1970 aboard a Long March rocket, which orbited the Earth while blaring the Cultural Revolution anthem, ''The East is Red''.
Since then, analysts estimate it has launched 50 satellites, which Sun Laiyan, the head of China's National Space Administration, has said help with weather forecasting and developing seeds that breed superior crops.
In 2003, China put a man in space, becoming only the third country to achieve the feat after the United States and the Soviet Union. It launched a second manned space flight last year, and plans a space walk by 2008.