|Names||Tan Ce (Explorer)|
|Mission type||Earth observation|
|Operator||CNSA · ESA|
|COSPAR ID||2003-061A (TC-1)
|Website||ESA website (archive)|
|Mission duration||3 years, 9 months, 15 days (TC-1)
13 years, 7 months and 25 days (TC-2)
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||29 December 2003
, 19:06 UTC (TC-1)|
25 July 2004 , 07:05 UTC (TC-2)
|Rocket||Long March 2C|
|Launch site||Xichang Satellite Launch Center|
|End of mission|
|Decay date||14 October 2007(TC-1)|
ESA quadrilateral mission insignia for the Double Star mission.
Double Star is a joint satellite based space mission by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) and the European Space Agency (ESA). It is the first space mission launched by China to investigate Earth's magnetosphere. It consists of two satellites: an Equatorial satellite (TC-1) and Polar satellite (TC-2). Double Star follows in the footsteps of ESA's Cluster mission by studying the effects of the Sun on the Earth's environment. After a nominal mission of one year (from the launch of TC-2 in July 2004), the Double Star mission was extended twice by both agencies till the end of September 2007.
The Double Star mission uses two satellites in Earth orbit - each designed, developed, launched, and operated by the China National Space Administration. ESA has agreed to contribute 8 million Euros to the Double Star programme. This funding will be used for refurbishment and pre-integration of the European instruments, acquisition of data for four hours per day and co-ordination of scientific operations. This schedule enabled Double Star to operate simultaneously with ESA's Cluster mission.
The first equatorial spacecraft (Tan Ce 1, Chinese for 'Explorer 1', also known as TC-1) was launched by a Long March 2C launch vehicle on December 29, 2003 at 19:06 UT. Its purpose was to investigate Earth's huge 'magnetotail', the region where particles are accelerated towards the planet's magnetic poles by a process known as 'reconnection'.
The second polar spacecraft (TC-2) was launched July 25, 2004 at 07:05 UT, also by Long March 2C. It will concentrate on physical processes taking place over the magnetic poles and the development of aurorae.
The mission formally ended on October 14, 2007 when the TC-1 spacecraft re-entered the Earth's atmosphere after being decommissioned (an unavoidable consequence of its equatorial orbit). The TC-2 spacecraft and payload continues to operate though financial support from ESA/STFC has been discontinued.
TC-1 was launched into an equatorial elliptical orbit of 570 x 78 970 km with inclination 28.5° to the equator from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. This apogee of this mission was the deepest into space China had ever sent a spacecraft at that time.
The TC-2 spacecraft was launched into a polar elliptical orbit of 700 x 39 000 km, inclination 90° to the equator from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center.
None of the audio/visual content is hosted on this site. All media is embedded from other sites such as GoogleVideo, Wikipedia, YouTube etc. Therefore, this site has no control over the copyright issues of the streaming media.
All issues concerning copyright violations should be aimed at the sites hosting the material. This site does not host any of the streaming media and the owner has not uploaded any of the material to the video hosting servers. Anyone can find the same content on Google Video or YouTube by themselves.
The owner of this site cannot know which documentaries are in public domain, which has been uploaded to e.g. YouTube by the owner and which has been uploaded without permission. The copyright owner must contact the source if he wants his material off the Internet completely.