China preps Earth-observation satellite

March 29, 2013 at 4:02 PM

BEIJING, March 29 (UPI) -- China says it is planning an April launch for what will be the country's first high-resolution Earth-observation satellite.

Preparation of the satellite and its carrier rocket, a Long March 2D, have been completed and the satellite is now in the launch stage, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense said.

The satellite will be the first of five to six satellites to be launched before the end of 2015 to create a spatial, temporal and spectral high-resolution observation system, China's official Xinhua News Agency reported Friday.

The satellite system -- intended to help reduce disasters and to protect resources, the environment and national security -- will provide services for the country's Ministry of Land and Resources, Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Environmental Protection.

It will support geographic and oceanic surveys and urban transportation management, authorities said.

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