Meridian Project kicks off
As a national major project for S&T infrastructures, the Meridian Chain of Comprehensive Ground-Based Space Environment Monitors in the Eastern Hemisphere (dubbed as the Meridian Project) has been officially initiated. Its construction commencement ceremony was held on 5 January in Beijing.
Chaired by CAS Secretary-general LI Zhigang, who also heads the leading group of the project, the ceremony was attended by Vice Minister of the National Development and Reform Commission ZHANG Xiaoqiang and high-level officials from the six government departments or institutions involving the project. CAS President LU Yongxiang sent his congratulations to the event.
With the objective of making clear the patterns of catastrophic weather events in the space environment, regional characteristics of the environment above China's territory so as to ensure the flight safety of satellites, the project is to set up a large-scale ground-based monitoring system composed of 15 stations along the longitude of 120oE and the latitude of 30oN.
The 167-million-yuan project will be coordinated by the CAS Center for Space Science and Applied Research (CSSAR) with the participation of researchers from such departments as CAS, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Information Industry, China Earthquake Administration, State Oceanic Administration, and China Meteorological Administration. The construction is slated to be completed by the end of 2010, according to Prof. WU Ji, CSSAR Director and General Manager of the Construction Department of the Meridian Project.
It will contribute not only to the development of China's space science, but also to international cooperation of solar-terrestrial physicists around the world, says Prof. WEI Fensi, chair of the S&T Steering Committee of the Meridian Project.