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China to upgrade maritime satellite network by 2020

China: China plans to launch eight satellites providing ocean and land data before 2020, a senior official said. “The planned satellite launches, including four satellites observing the colour of the sea, two observing ocean currents and two maritime radar satellites before 2020, have been approved by the National Development and Reform Commission,” Jiang Xingwei, director of the National Satellite Ocean Application Service (NSOAS), told China Daily.

The new satellites will greatly improve China”s ability to observe and supervise the marine environment, he said.

China already has three satellites that monitor its territorial waters and islands, including the Diaoyu Islands and Huangyan Island, but they cannot be used to focus on a fixed location, Jiang said.

The launch of the two maritime radar satellites will add that capability.

Pan Delu, of the State Oceanic Administration”s Second Institute of Oceanography, said that it is urgent China moves forward with the satellite project because the country is at least 10 years behind the satellite technology of developed economies such as the United States.

China is accelerating its pace of research and development of satellite technologies and broadening international cooperation.

On Aug 30, China”s National Satellite Ocean Application Service and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites in Germany signed an agreement allowing the exchange of data from their ocean-monitoring satellites. Jiang said that a US organization has shown interest in the data from the Haiyang-2 satellite.

China has three maritime satellites in operation, according to the NSOAS.

Xia Dengwen, deputy director of the China Oceanic Information Network of the State Oceanic Administration, said the current sea-monitoring is done by some satellites and aircraft.

If more satellites are launched, the system will operate better, said Xia, who is in charge of the system.

Source: China Daily