China launches its first sun satellite to monitor solar eruptions

China launched its first solar observation satellite on Thursday, entering a new arena of space exploration, state media reported.The 550kg (121-pound) Xihe satellite was sent by a Long March 2D rocket from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in northern Shanxi province into a 571km-altitude orbit, where it is expected to monitor the sun for three years, state news agency Xinhua reported.China has had a solar monitoring network on the ground but until now lacked optical data outside the…