Double Star Project
Double Star ProjectAn international mission studying the effects of solar radiation on the Earth's space environment – that is, its magnetosphere. The project, operated jointly by ESA and the China National Space Administration (CNSA), consists of two spacecraft, each designed, developed, launched, and operated by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the CNSA. The two small satellites, named Tan Ce 1 and Tan Ce 2, were launched in December 2003 and July 2004 respectively by a Long March 2C rocket from the Taiyuan spaceport, west of Beijing (Tan Ce is Mandarin Chinese for Explorer ). Following on from ESA's successful Cluster (Cluster II) mission, the two Double Star Project spacecraft – one in a near-equatorial orbit, the other in a polar orbit – were designed to provide new measurements in key parts of the magnetosphere, especially the magnetotail, where storms of high-energy particles are generated. Their results were being coordinated with those of the Cluster mission.
Collins Dictionary of Astronomy © Market House Books Ltd, 2006