A retrievable scientific research satellite has successfully been launched by China. The satellite named the SJ-10 will help the scientists study space life science and micro-gravity. Long March 2-D rocket placed the SJ-10, which is shaped like a bullet, into the orbit. The launching took place from the iuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwestern China’s Gobi desert. The bullet-shaped probe will conduct 19 experiments in space involving microgravity fluid physics, microgravity combustion, space material, space radiation effect, microgravity biological effect and space bio-technology. It will then return to Earth with results, according to Xinhua news agency.
A pool of more than 200 applicants selected the on-board experiments, including the one that will study early-stage development of mouse embryos in microgravity to shed light on human reproduction in space. Another experiment will study 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.
(With PTI inputs)