China, France collaborate on the launch of cutting-edge astronomical satellite

    WORLD  22 June 2024 - 16:00

    China on June 22 launched an astronomical satellite, the result of nearly 20 years of hard work between Chinese and French scientists, to capture gamma-ray bursts which flicker like fireworks in the farthest reaches of the universe.

    The satellite, the Space-based Multi-band Variable Object Monitor (SVOM), was launched by a Long March-2C rocket at 3:00 p.m. (Beijing Time) from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province, according to the China National Space Administration (CNSA), Caliber.Az reports citing Chinese media.

    The satellite has been sent into an orbit over 600 kilometres above Earth and has a designed life of five years, though scientists expect it could be operational for as long as 20 years.

    Four scientific instruments are installed on the satellite, two of which have been developed by China and two by France. The four instruments can realize a large field of view and high-precision observation. Their fields of view are capable of covering a quarter of the entire sky, making it easy to spot the unpredictable, fleeting bursts in space. Once a target is detected, the satellite will automatically turn toward it and undertake long-duration and high-precision observation.

    China and France have established a joint team of about 100 scientists, with Chinese and French members accounting for approximately 60 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively. Every member of the team has equal access to all scientific data, and SVOM's scientific data will be shared with the international astronomy community.

    The SVOM project's overall satellite design, development and in-orbit operations, as well as the analysis of its data and the publication of its scientific research results, have been or are being carried out by both China and France.

    With the support of the leaders of the two countries, the project constitutes high-level cooperation between China and France, both of which are major players in space.

    Caliber.Az

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