The country will be able to keep a closer watch on natural resources and
disasters with the launch of six satellites in the next five years, officials
Half of them will be launched next year and the rest are expected to be in
place by 2010, according to sources at a gathering to mark the 15th anniversary
of the founding of the China Centre for Resources Satellite Data and
Application, which closed in Beijing on Friday.
Of the three satellites scheduled for 2007, one is for resources and two are
for environmental and disaster monitoring, said Sun Laiyan, chief of the China
National Space Administration.
The two optical satellites for environmental monitoring and disaster-relief
will be launched from one rocket, said Sun, on the sidelines of the two-day
They will be joined by a radar satellite sometime in the next five years as
part of China's ongoing project to build a small-satellite constellation to
enhance environmental and disaster monitoring, he said.
The constellation will comprise eight satellites four radar satellites and
four optical ones, he said, without specifying a timetable for their placement.
"Upon completion, the two types of satellites will supplement each other and
enable the country to have real-time and all-weather monitoring of the
environment and calamities," said Sun.
Environmental and disaster monitoring satellites aside, the country will also
catapult into orbit three resources monitoring satellites by the end of 2010,
with the first one planned for next year, according to Guo Jianning, director of
The resources monitoring satellite, CBERS-2B, will be sent into orbit to
continue a high-technology collaboration between China and Brazil, according to
sources from the centre.
CBERS, or the China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite programme, was launched
by the Chinese Academy of Space Technology and Brazil's National Institute for
Space Research (INPE) in 1988.
The two sides aimed to set up a complete remote-sensing system to monitor
changes in land resources, detect pollution and formulate resource conservation
The first CBERS series was launched in 1999, followed by the second in 2003.
Since then Guo's centre has received and distributed at least 100,000 images
to benefit users in China, Brazil and a dozen other countries including
Malaysia, Pakistan and Mongolia.
The satellite data have been an important source of reference for
decision-making in China. They have been used in a host of key national projects
including the diversion of water from the country's water-rich south to the
parched north and construction of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, Guo said.
To maintain the continuation of remote-sensing data, scientists are working
on the CBERS-3 and CBERS-4 satellites, which will be launched in several years,
(China Daily 12/16/2006 page3)