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Chinese mapping satellite deployed in Earth orbit

Posted: August 24, 2010

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A Chinese mapping satellite is circling Earth after launching on a Long March rocket Tuesday, according to official media reports.

The Tianhui 1 satellite was released in a circular orbit more than 300 miles above Earth following liftoff aboard a Long March 2D booster at 0710 GMT (3:10 a.m. EDT).

The 13-story rocket took off from the Jiuquan launching base near the border of northern China's Inner Mongolia and Gansu provinces, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

Liftoff occurred at 3:10 p.m. Chinese time.

The two-stage launch vehicle deployed Tianhui 1 on a trajectory over Earth's poles with an inclination of approximately 97 degrees.

Authorities will use Tianhui 1 for scientific research, mapping and land resource surveys to help promote economic development, according to a statement on the Chinese Ministry of Defense website.

The satellite was developed by a company under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp., Xinhua reported.

Tuesday's flight was the seventh Chinese space launch of the year and the 40th rocket to reach orbit worldwide in 2010. It was the 13th mission for a Long March 2D rocket since 1992.