China sent high-definition earth observation satellite “Gaofen 1” into space shortly after noon on Friday, marking the start of a program that will substantially improve its capabilities in disaster relief, resources and environment survey.
The satellite unfolded its solar panel in orbit at 12:39 p.m. after its carrier — a Long March-2D rocket — was launched from northwest China’s Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center at 12:13 p.m.
Beijing time, announced the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND).
Developed by the China Academy of Space Technology, Gaofen-1 will be followed into space by another four of five satellites before the end of 2016 to form the high-definition earth observation system (HDEOS).
By improving the precision and timeliness of data provision, the satellite could play an important role in disaster relief in a country that is a frequent sufferer from such incidents.
Disaster relief work following the quake pointed to a lack of precise and timely data, despite the help of several remote sensing satellites and the Beidou positioning system. Gaofen 1 can fill the gaps for more reasonable policy making.
It could also improve land resources surveying, environmental monitoring, geographical mapping as well as precision agriculture.