China launches Kuafu-1, its first complete solar probe

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China on Sunday launched its first comprehensive solar probe, the Advanced Space Solar Observatory (ASO-S), according to the National Astronomical Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The satellite was launched atop a Long March-2D carrier rocket from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China at 7:43 a.m. Beijing time and entered the designated orbit .

China launches its first full solar probe, the Advanced Space Solar Observatory (ASO-S), atop a Long March-2D carrier rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China , at 7:43 a.m. Beijing time on October 9, 2022. Wang Jiangbo/Chinese Media Group

China launches its first full solar probe, the Advanced Space Solar Observatory (ASO-S), atop a Long March-2D carrier rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China , at 7:43 a.m. Beijing time on October 9, 2022. Wang Jiangbo/Chinese Media Group

China launches its first full solar probe, the Advanced Space Solar Observatory (ASO-S), atop a Long March-2D carrier rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China , at 7:43 a.m. Beijing time on October 9, 2022. Wang Jiangbo/Chinese Media Group

The probe, dubbed Kuafu-1 (a sun seeker in ancient Chinese mythology), will operate in an orbit 720 kilometers from Earth, facing the sun at all times.

Equipped with a trio of instruments, the 888-kilogram satellite will provide information on how the sun’s magnetic field creates coronal mass ejections and other flares. Its tools include an all-solar vector magnetic imager, a Lyman Alpha solar telescope and a hard X-ray solar imager. It is planned to operate for four years.

The launch is the 442nd mission for the Long March series rockets.

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