China to launch first student satellite for scientific education
NANJING: China's first nano-satellite with primary and middle school students involved in the development and building process will be launched into space Friday.
The satellite, named after late Premier Zhou Enlai, was sent from its production base in Huai'an Youth Comprehensive Development Base in east China's Jiangsu Province to Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gansu Province Monday, where a CZ-11 solid fuel rocket is scheduled to put it into orbit Friday.
Twenty teenagers who participated in the development project accompanied the transport group to the launch center and will witness the lift-off.
Zhang Xiang, chief designer of the satellite, said that the nano-satellite, weighing 2 kilograms, is set to run in sun-synchronous orbit. Equipped with a HD optical camera, it can capture space photos with the highest resolution among those shot by other Chinese satellites for scientific education purpose.
Zhang said that the students had taken their spare time to join the development and groundbased simulation performance of the satellite, and had learnt to assemble and practice voice data transfer and telecommunication applications.
"A scientific satellite like this is like a teacher in space, carrying cameras or spectroscopes to study the upper atmosphere or to shoot space pictures of the stars. Students can grasp the mystery of the universe through the messages transmitted by the teacher," said Zhang, a professor with Nanjing University of Science and Engineering.
The satellite project was approved in 2016. The administration office of Huai'an Youth Comprehensive Development Base is the main organizer of the project. It is aiming to become the largest and most advanced youth aerospace science museum in China.
"The satellite not only offers an opportunity for local teenagers to engage in such an aerospace project, but stimulates enthusiasm in space science among all students in the schools," said Wang Qiming, director of the administration office.
"It is so much fun to know the secrets of a scientific satellite. I am proud of being part of the development," said Lu Ke, a member of the young team.
The student from the Huai'an Zhou Enlai Red Army Middle School is looking forward to watching the whole launch process Friday.
"Watching our satellite lifting off will be so cool that I will probably be moved into tears," he said.