China's Xinhua News Agency reports that on Sunday, Skyshine successfully launched a space-based observatory, the Kuafu-1 satellite, which will be a new milestone for China on the way to discover the sun's secrets.
According to the Agency, the 888 kg satellite was launched by the Changzhen-2G carrier rocket at 07:43 p.m. and launched into a scheduled orbit at 720 km from Earth. It is expected that the observatory will operate in space for four to six months in test mode and then proceed to full-time operation.
In China, new equipment is reported to be designed to investigate cause-effect relationships between solar flares, coronal emissions and the magnetic field of light; in addition, the satellite will provide the data needed to predict "space weather"; solar flares and coronal emissions are likely to affect the Earth's environment as well; the latter can cause geomagnetic storms that can disrupt power grids, communication networks and navigation systems.
The observatory is expected to operate 96% of the time per year, located in solar-synchronous orbit and, unlike Earth telescopes able to observe the Sun only during the day, it will operate 24 hours a day for most of the year.
"The satellite will pass through the shadow of the Earth every day from May to August, at which time the maximum rest time per day will not exceed 18 minutes," explained the representative of the ASO-S project from the Jijinzhan Observatory at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and it is projected that the satellite will operate for at least four years and transmit to Earth approximately 500 Gbytes of accumulated data every day, equivalent to tens of thousands of high-quality images.
According to Chinese data, the satellite will be able to take pictures every few seconds or minutes, but during solar flares the film will accelerate to a photograph every second, thus allowing unusual events to be recorded in detailed details.