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China launches high-definition earth observation satellite

U142P5029T2D585813F24DT20130426155953China 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.

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