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Latest satellite to aid environmental protection

China Daily By Zhao Lei, April 18, 2017 Adjust font size:

China will launch the Gaofen 5 high-resolution Earth observation satellite in September to help with environmental protection efforts, an official overseeing the program said.

Tong Xudong, a senior official at the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, who is in charge of the Gaofen program, told China Daily on Monday that the satellite will be launched from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Shanxi province.

"The satellite will soon be assembled and start to go through tests. It will be one of the most advanced satellites of its kind and will have a life span of eight years," Tong said. "Its main tasks will be monitoring air pollutants, water quality and vegetative cover, thus improving environmental protection."

He made the remarks after a news conference in Beijing on Monday, where an industry report on China's high-resolution satellites was circulated.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection, the main user of the Gaofen 5, said the satellite is the most technologically sophisticated in the Gaofen family. It will carry six pieces of scientific equipment including an atmospheric greenhouse gas monitor and a hyper-spectral camera.

It will be the first Chinese satellite capable of performing remote observations of air pollutants and greenhouse gases.

China launched the Gaofen project in May 2010 and has listed it as one of its 16 top projects in science and technology. The country aims to have a high-resolution Earth observation network by around 2020.

The Gaofen 1 was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in April 2013. Another five in the series have been launched since.

Currently, more than 1,800 government departments, business entities and publicly funded organizations in China use images and data generated by Gaofen satellites, Tong said.