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Nation to build new satellite system
By Cui Ning (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-11-16 22:37

China will build a large satellite-based earth observation system by 2010, says a top space official.

The system could be used for observation of land, atmosphere and ocean within China, its adjacent areas and even the entire globe, said Sun Laiyan, director of China National Space Administration, yesterday in Beijing.

Sun was speaking at the opening ceremony of the 18th plenary session of the Committee for Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS), an international non-governmental organization set up in 1984 to focus on air-to-surface observation.

Sun said before 2010, China will develop a new generation of polar orbit and stationary orbit meteorological satellites, high-performance resource follow-up satellites, oceanic colour and dynamic observation satellites.

China will also set up a mini-satellite constellation for environmental and disaster monitoring. Construction of the constellation will be done in two phases. The first phase would see deployment of three satellites. In the second phase,eight more satellites would be put in place, said Sun.

"We will complete the first phase before 2007. We welcome international collaboration to complete the second phase before 2010," he said.

"The China National Space Administration wishes to enhance exchanges and co-operation with other countries in the field of earth observation, to contribute more to peaceful use of outer space," Sun said.

Some 300 officials and specialists from home and abroad attended the conference, to discuss how to study global water resources, disaster monitoring and other issues through earth observation technology.

According to Minister of science and technology Xu Guanhua, the first earth meteorological satellites were developed in 1960. Since then, many countries began to develop their own earth observation technology. CEOS was formed to co-ordinate worldwide efforts for civil earth observation.

Results of earth observation are used in atmospheric, ocean and land studies as well as agriculture, industry and business sectors.

China joined CEOS in 1991.

The country has developed meteorological, resource, ocean, navigation and environment satellites and manned space craft. These satellites have played an active role in meteorological forecasts, disaster prevention, natural resources rationalization and climate change studies, said Xu.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of CEOS, officials from World Meteorology Organization, European Space Administration and other international organizations delivered speeches yesterday.

An exhibition of remote-sensing technology, global positioning system, space science and other earth observation-related technological achievements was held and will last until Thursday.

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