Wednesday, September 10, 2008

NW China sandstorm no threat to launch of Shenzhou-7 spacecraft

The launch of the Shenzhou-7 spacecraft, set to blast off between Sept. 25 and 30 from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu Province, will not be affected by a strong sandstorm in the area, a meteorological expert said.

The sandstorm, which hit central and western Gansu Province from Sunday morning, had started to weaken and move southeast toward the provincial capital Lanzhou, the National Meteorological Observatory said in a statement on Tuesday.

The sandstorm would not last long and would not affect the launch of Shenzhou-7, the observatory cited a meteorological expert with the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center as saying.

A serious sandstorm started to engulf Dunhuang on Sunday and cut visibility to 40 meters as of 10 a.m. Monday in the city, which was 410 kilometers west of Jiuquan, the observatory said.

At the same time, temperature in central and western Gansu dropped by five to eight degrees Celsius on Monday, and some regions experienced a sharp decline of nine to 11 degrees Celsius.

Source: Xinhua

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