China has successfully launched a retrievable scientific research satellite which is aimed at helping scientists to study micro-gravity and space life science. This bullet-shaped SJ-10 was put into orbit by Long March 2-D rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwestern China’s Gobi desert. While in space, the bullet-shaped probe will house 19 experiments involving microgravity fluid physics, microgravity combustion, space material, space radiation effect, microgravity biological effect and space bio-technology, before coming back to Earth with results, state run Xinhua news agency reported.
On-board experiments were selected from a pool of over 200 applicants. They include one that will study early-stage development of mouse embryos in microgravity to shed light on human reproduction in space, and another studying space radiation effects on genetic stability of fruit flies and rat cells.
A “Soret Coefficient in Crude Oil” experiment in partnership between the National Space Science Center under CAS and the European Space Agency (ESA) is also onboard together with an investigation of coal combustion and pollutant formation under microgravity.
The former test is aimed to improve scientists’ understanding of oil reservoirs buried kilometers underground, while the latter is expected to help enhance energy efficiency and cut emissions.
“All experiments conducted on SJ-10 are completely new ones that have never been done before either at home or abroad,”d Hu Wenrui, chief scientist of the SJ-10 mission said. “They could lead to key breakthroughs in our academic research,” Hu said. SJ-10 is the second of four scientific satellites under a CAS space program. Unlike the others, SJ-10 is returnable.
It is the 25th such retrievable satellite launched by China in the past decades. Overall, eight of the experiments on fluid physics and microgravity combustion will be carried out in the orbital module and the others in the re-entry capsule which is expected to land at Siziwang Banner in Inner Mongolia, the designated landing spot for China’s Shenzhou manned space missions and a 2014 test lunar orbiter.