China puts high-definition Earth observing satellite into orbit

April 26, 2013 at 6:47 PM

BEIJING, April 26 (UPI) -- China says a high-definition observation satellite launched Friday will improve its capabilities in disaster relief, resources and environment monitoring.

The State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense said the satellite successfully unfolded its solar panel in orbit after its launch atop a Long March-2D rocket from northwest China's Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

Developed by the China Academy of Space Technology, the satellite, dubbed Gaofen-1, will eventually be joined by another four of five before the end of 2016 to form a high-definition earth observation system, China's official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Disaster relief work following the recent disastrous quake in Sichuan Province highlighted a lack of precise and timely data, despite the help of several remote sensing satellites and the Beidou GPS system, officials said, making better Earth observations of the type Goafen-1 and its companions will offer vital.

A fleet of high-resolution satellites would also improve land resources surveying, environmental monitoring, geographical mapping and precision agriculture, they said.

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