China launches major project to monitor space with network of observatories
Source: CCTV.com | 01-06-2008 11:26
A major project to monitor space has been launched in Beijing. The Meridian project will create a network of ground-based observatories.
The network will use a line of observatories running north to south along the 120th east longitude. They will be located in Mohe, Beijing, Wuhan, Hainan and the Zhongshan Antarctic Station. In addition, an east to west line of observatories in Shanghai, Wuhan, Chengdu, Lasa will run along the 30th parallel of north latitude.
So far, 15 observatories are already in use.
These observatories will work together to monitor and forecast space conditions with high-tech equipment, including magneto-meters, radar and sounding rockets.
Yin Hejun, member Chinese Academy of Sciences, said, " Monitoring space environment is key to space exploration activities. The Meridian project will gather space environment data, forecast space weather and provide information on dangerous space conditions. This will enhance safety in space exploration and will surely improve China's strength in this area."
Over 150 million yuan, about 22 million dollars, has been invested in the project.
The network will be complete within three years when it is scheduled for a test run.