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China's First High Orbit Remote Sensing Satellite to Take Wider Pictures for Earth

Dec 30, 2015     Email"> PrintText Size

China's first high orbit remote sensing satellite, Gaofen-4, was sent into space Tuesday.

Gaofen-4 is China's first geosynchronous orbit high-definition optical imaging satellite. It will be used for high-precision observation of China and its surrounding areas, and serving as the source of observation data, says Zhang Hongtai, president of China Academy of Space Technology.

According to Li Guo, chief designer of Gaofen-4, this satellite can "see" the entire area of Beijing and Tianjin at a glance. It will benefit countries and regions along the Belt and Road Initiative as well as providing services for various domestic industries.

Gaofen-4 is orbiting 36,000 kilometers away from the earth, much farther away than other remote sensing satellites which typically orbit at 500 km or at 1,000 km. High orbit satellite have the advantage of being able to snap "grand scenarios." Low orbit satellites, in contrast, can see more detail at faster speed.

Low orbit satellites cannot always follow natural disasters, but Gaofen-4 can continuously observe a disaster because it moves synchronously with the earth. It improves the response to disasters like earthquakes landslides and typhoons with its high-precision sensors.

Gaofen-4 has a designed lifespan of 8 years, compared to other remote sensing satellites which remain is service for less than 3 to 5 years.

Since the inception of the Gaofen project in 2013, China has an increasingly clearer view of the planet. Gaofen-1, launched in April 2013, could cover the globe in merely 4 days. Gaofen-2, sent into space in August 2014, is able to resolve to 0.8 m in full color and collect multispectral images of objects of 3.2 meters or longer. The two satellites enable China to be basically self-sufficient in high-definition remote sensing data.

China will launch Gaofen-3 in 2016 and accelerate the research and development of Gaofen-6 and Gaofen-7. The goal of the Gaofen series is to provide all-weather, 24-hour service covering the globe. (Xinhua)

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(Editor: CHEN Na)

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