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China prepares to launch new satellite, role not revealed

EPA/QU JINGLIANG CHINA OUT
A Long March 2-D rocket with the Dark Matter Particle Explorer (DAMPE) Satellite on board, launches from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China, 17 December 2015. China launched the nation's first space telescope to join in the global quest for elusive dark matter, the invisible stuff scientists say makes up most of the universe. Nicknamed "Wukong" - Monkey King - from the popular Chinese novel Journey to the West, the satellite is to orbit at 500 kilometres and observe the direction, energy and electric charge of high-energy particles. The telescope will scan space in all directions in the first two years and then focus in the third year on sections where dark matter is most likely to be observed.

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China’s space program is expected to soon launch its Long March 7A rocket from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center.
The official acknowledgement of a mission came on 12 February, but there was no indication of its timeline. No airspace closure notifications have been issued, which suggests launch is not to be expected immediately.
A subsidiary of China’s state-owned main space contractor, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, issued a short notice, saying that the payload for the mission is named “new technology verification satellite-6”.
The satellite will be sent to geosynchronous transfer orbit, which is a high Earth orbit that allows satellites to match Earth’s rotation. Geosynchronous orbits are typically used for communications, navigation, meteorology, as well as for warning systems. China does not have confirmed early warning satellites.
The launch of the Long March 7A is being prepared despite the deadly new coronavirus emerging from China. Measures to fight the spread of the virus have greatly impacted the aerospace industry, as many employees cannot return to their workplaces due to the strict quarantine rules.

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