PRAVDA.Ru correspondent Andrei Krushinsky reports from Beijing:
While Russia is investigating the roof collapse at the Baikonur cosmodrome, buries the Buran into oblivion and plays at give-away with the USA, China made another step to be closer to the space super powers. Early today, China's Long March IV-B Carrier Rocket successfully launched two satellites. Both satellites were independently developed by Chinese specialists. The Haiyang-1 is the first marine surveying satellite weighing 360 kg. Its functioning capacity is two years. It is reported that “China’s coastline is over 18,000 kilometers and the country has more than 6,500 islands in the sea. Over 40% of the Chinese population live in the coastal regions (total area of the regions make up 13% of the country’s total area).” Such is the explanation why China needs the satellites.
The Fengyun-1D is a first generation meteorological satellite developed by China, which will lead the way to comprehensive weather services and monitoring the global environment.
The launch from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in northern China's Shanxi Province was the 25th consecutive successful launch of Long March rockets since October 1996.
Andrei Krushinsky PRAVDA.Ru Beijing
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/05/15/41158.html