A high-performance earth observation satellite used to “observe” Beijing, host of the 2008 Olympics, was successfully sent into its preset orbit. The ‘Beijing-1’ satellite blasted off at the Plesetsk satellite launching centre of Russia on Friday, 28th October evening. The satellite is expected to send back remote sensing pictures of Beijing about 20 days later. The pictures of the Chinese capital will serve its urban planning, ecological environment monitoring, key projects monitoring and land utilisation purposes. The satellite is also entitled to monitor the environment of Beijing during the 2008 Summer Olympics Games.
The ‘Beijing-1’ macro-satellite weighs 166 kilograms with an expected life expectancy of over five years in orbit. It is circulating in a low Earth orbit 686 kilometres above the earth. The satellite was developed jointly by a Chinese company and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) of Britain. Beijing Landview Mapping Information Technology Co., Ltd. is in charge of the daily operation and the management, reception and disposing of data sent back by the satellite.