China: China has opened its 2013 account with the launch of a new civilian high-resolution remote sensing satellite called Gaofen-1. The satellite was launched by a Long March 2D carrier rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. The rocket also carried three CubeSats – Ecuador”s first satellite, a spacecraft built by students in Turkey and a technology demonstration platform from Argentina.
Developed by the China Academy of Space Technology, Gaofen-1 is the first of five or six satellites to be launched for the high-definition earth observation system (HDEOS) between 2011 and 2016. It is equipped with two solar panel wings. For observation purposes, GF-1 is equipped with a 2 meter resolution CCD camera, an 8 meter resolution multi-spectrum imager, and a 16 meter resolution wide-field multi-spectrum imager.
The system could play an important role in disaster prevention and relief, climate change monitoring, geographical mapping, environment and resource surveying as well as precision agriculture.
Data from the Gaofen satellites will be used by civilian agencies within the Chinese government, including the Ministry of Land and Resources, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Ministry of Environmental Protection.
Source: Xinhuanet & NASA Space Flight