China on 6 April 2016 successfully launched a bullet-shaped retrievable scientific research satellite SJ-10 (Shijian-10). The satellite was launched aboard Long March 2-D rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwestern China's Gobi desert.
The satellite was launched with an aim to help scientists in their study of microgravity and space life science.
It is the second of four scientific satellites under a CAS space program. Unlike the other three, SJ-10 is returnable. SJ-10 is the 25th such retrievable satellite launched by China in the past decades.
The bullet-shaped probe will house 19 experiments in the space involving microgravity fluid physics, microgravity combustion, space material, space radiation effect, microgravity biological effect and space bio-technology, before coming back to Earth with results.
On-board experiments include
• Study of early-stage development of mouse embryos in microgravity and this will help in shedding light on human reproduction in space, and another studying space radiation effects on genetic stability of fruit flies and rat cells.
• The Soret Coefficient in Crude Oil experiment will investigate coal combustion and pollutant formation under microgravity. The experiment will be carried out in partnership with the National Space Science Center under CAS and the European Space Agency (ESA). This experiment will be carried out to improve scientists understanding of oil reservoirs buried kilometers underground and the latter will help in enhancing energy efficiency and cut emissions.
Overall, eight of the experiments on fluid physics and microgravity combustion will be carried out in the orbital module.
The other experiments will be conducted under the re-entry capsule which is expected to land at Siziwang Banner in Inner Mongolia, the designated landing spot for China's Shenzhou manned space missions and a 2014 test lunar orbiter.
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What: Launched by China
When: 6 April 2016