Space History: 'Double Star' project- CNSA+ESA- first Chinese deep space launch

date: 29 DEC'2003
'Double Star' project was a joint project by Chinese & European space agency. Two satellites were launched under this project. Mission was to study the effects of the Sun on the Earth's environment. The first launch is reported here. The newspaper clipping below is from a local Indian paper at that time likes of which i used to collect from childhood.

This was first Chinese deep space launch before Chang'e-1 lunar mission.

translating highlights:

  • to study magnetic and energized particles coming out of the Sun and their effects on Earth.
  • spacecraft is called "Explore-1"
  • first launch tonight occurred at 'Xichang station' in China
  • second launch to occur in six months from 'Taiyuan'
  • first joint mission between CNSA and ESA
  • launch rocket and different equipment provided by China
  • science instruments and data network provided by ESA
  • ESA's "Cluster mission" spacecrafts (four in numbers) and two satellites from this project can jointly provide new information to scientists.