China to launch fourth orbiter into space

China will soon launch its fourth orbiter into space as part of its indigenous satellite navigation and positioning network known as Beidou.
The satellite would be launched on the Long March 3III carrier rocket “in a few days”, the official media reported. The satellite and rocket were in a sound condition and preparations for the launch were going on smoothly, it said. The report came as European Space Agency (ESA) director general Jean Jacques Dordain said the ESA would support China’s inclusion in the International Space Station partnership. Addressing the Global Lunar Conference, which is being held here, he said that international cooperation in space exploration has been progressing slowly. To achieve more, the partnership needs to be expanded, he added. “I am really willing to support the extension of the partnership of the ISS to China and South Korea. Obviously, this should be a decision by all partners, not the decision by one partner,” he said.
The ISS is jointly built and run by the United States, Russia, ESA’s 11 member countries, Canada, Japan and Brazil. In view of China’s growing power based on its independent technological development, it is being invited to more international cooperatives in space exploration in recent years, China Daily reported.
Mr Dordain noted that he was glad to see that on June 3, the first Russian, Chinese and ESA group will participate in the Mars-500 mission. “This is the first time that we shall have quasi-astronauts from Russia, China and ESA living together for 520 days. This is a good step,” he said.
The Mars-500 project is a three-stage experiment including a 250-day virtual flight to Mars, a 30-day stay on the planet and a 240-day journey back to earth. Wang Yue, a space trainer from China, will join five other volunteers from Russia, Italy and France in the project. Three experiments proposed by China will also be conducted during the mission.

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