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Chinese Earth observation satellites come online

By Zhao Lei | | Updated: 2017-01-12 18:05

Chinese Earth observation satellites come online

An image taken by the SuperView 1A and 1B. [Photo provided by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation]

Phase one of China's first commercial high-resolution Earth observation satellite constellation is in operation, according to its developer.

China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, the country's main space contractor, has released several images taken by the SuperView 1A and 1B, the first two satellites in the SuperView system.

The images show the Potala Palace and a local convention center in Lhasa, capital of the Tibet autonomous region, and the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center.

The SuperView 1A and 1B were launched atop a Long March 2D carrier rocket on Dec 28 from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Shanxi province. They entered their preset orbits on Tuesday and have sent more than 1,200 ground images back to the control center, according to the State-owned CASC.

China already operated the Gaofen network, which is comprised of four satellites, but that system mainly serves government departments and the public sector rather than businesses, said Yang Yike, director of high-resolution satellite projects at CASC.

The two identical satellites are part of the SuperView network of at least 24 Earth observation satellites, which CASC expects to become one of the worlds largest commercial providers of space imagery and geospatial data, said Yang.

The whole system will be operable by 2022, he said.

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