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New Earth observing satellite lifted into orbit

By Zhao Lei | | Updated: 2022-01-26 12:38
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China launched an Earth observation radar satellite on Wednesday morning, according to the China National Space Administration.

The Land Surveyor 1-01A satellite was carried into orbit on a Long March 4C rocket that blasted off at 7:44 am from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China and entered a quasi-sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 600 kilometers, the administration said in a statement.

Both satellite and rocket were built by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology, a subsidiary of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. The launch marked the 407th flight of a Long March rocket.

The main payload on the 3.2-metric ton spacecraft was an L-band synthetic aperture radar that allows for round-the-clock, all-weather observation of the ground. The radar’s antenna is 33 square meters in size, making it the largest of all synthetic aperture radars to be used on Chinese satellites.

The satellite is tasked with providing data and images to aid land resource, disaster prevention and relief, mapping, and forestry authorities, and will significantly strengthen rapid response capability in the event of natural disasters.

The second radar in the series — the Land Surveyor 1-01B — is scheduled to be deployed in late February, the administration said.

According to the Ministry of Natural Resources, the satellite’s main user, China, pays 10 million yuan ($1.6 million) a year for data and images from foreign satellites, but that this is already not enough to meet national needs for geological surveys and disaster forecasting and monitoring.

The new satellite will help to reduce China’s dependence on foreign satellites in this regard, the ministry said.

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