China's first satellite to probe Mars has been transported to Russia for a launch later this year, state media reported Thursday.
Yinghuo-1, the 110-kilogramme (242-pound) Chinese satellite, is scheduled to be launched along with Russia's "Phobos Explorer" aboard a Zenit rocket in October after final testing, the Beijing News said.
After entering Mars' orbit -- 10 to 11 months later -- the orbiter will probe the Martian space environment, with a special focus on what happened to the water that appears to have once been abundant on the planet's surface.
The satellite, developed by the Shanghai Space Administration, will carry eight pieces of equipment including two cameras, the report said.
China became the third nation to put a man into space when Yang Liwei piloted the one-man Shenzhou-5 space mission in 2003.
Last September, the Shenzhou-7, piloted by three "taikonauts" or astronauts, carried out China's first space walk.
China will launch a space module next year and carry out the nation's first space docking in 2011 as a step towards its goal of building a space station, state media said earlier.
(c) 2009 AFP
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