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Chinese satellites launched

Posted: October 25, 2008

China deployed two research satellites early Saturday in a super-secret launch from a space center in the northeastern part of the country.

The two spacecraft blasted off on a Long March 4B rocket at 0115 GMT Saturday (9:15 p.m. EDT Friday) from the Taiyuan launch site in Shanxi province in northeastern China, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

The liquid-fueled three-stage rocket boosted the satellites to a sun-synchronous orbit about 370 miles high. The mission was the 53rd space launch to reach orbit so far this year, and the sixth successful launch for China in 2008.

The craft launched Saturday are the third pair of Shijian 6 satellites, which study the harsh environment of space, according to Chinese media reports.

Xinhua reported no other details about the mission, which was not announced until the day before launch.

The last set of Shijian 6 satellites were launched in October 2006.