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A Long March 2D launch vehicle carrying China"s first space-based platform for earthquake observation was launched at 3:51 pm on Friday from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Northwest China.
The satellite is an important platform for studying the electromagnetic environment of Earth and has vital applications in research into the precursors of earthquakes, said Zheng Guoguang, head of the China Earthquake Administration.
The Seismo-Electromagnetic Satellite ZH-1, named after Zhang Heng (AD 78-139), the inventor of the seismoscope, fills a blank in China"s exploration of the global geomagnetic field, the ionospheric environment and its variations, which are closely related to earthquakes, Zheng said.
The launch marks China"s preliminary establishment of a dynamic three-dimensional earthquake monitoring system throughout the country, by filling the observational gaps in the Qinghai-Tibet plateau and sea regions in ground-based networks, he said.
The 730-kg satellite is in the shape of a cube, measuring 1.4 meter on each side, according to the administration. With a design service life of five years, ZH-1 is the first Chinese satellite launched for geophysical field exploration.
A second satellite, with a more accurate measurement capability, is expected to be launched in 2020, the administration said.