China successfully launched three satellites, including a resource satellite, on Thursday into planned orbits which will help in disaster prevention, urban construction and monitor polar regions and global climate change. The resource satellite and two small satellites were launched on a Long March-4B carrier rocket at 11:26 am local time from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in north China's Shanxi Province. The resource satellite ZY-1 02D is developed by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) and is an important part of China's space-based infrastructure.
It will provide observation data for natural resources asset management, ecological monitoring, disaster prevention and control, environmental protection, urban construction, transportation and contingency management, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
With an expected lifespan of five years, ZY-1 02D will form a network with more satellites to follow.
It will work in the solar synchronous orbit at 778-km above the Earth. It carries a near-infrared camera with a coverage width of 115-km, enabling it to observe large and medium-sized cities, and be used for urban planning, the satellite's project manager Li Yifan said.
It also carries a 166-band hyperspectral camera that can produce 166 pictures with different colour bands simultaneously.
The camera can capture the reflected light information of various minerals, and be used to analyse complicated mineral compositions and distribution, Li said.
The satellite can also be used to observe chlorophyll concentration, water transparency and total suspended matter concentration in lakes to help monitor the environment and prevent water pollution.
One of the two small satellites launched on the same rocket belongs to Beijing Normal University, and is named BNU-1, and the other belongs to a Shanghai-based private space technology company. Both have an expected lifespan of one year.
BNU-1, developed by a Shenzhen-based company affiliated to CAST, weighs about 16 kilogrammes, and will be mainly used to monitor polar climate and environment, greatly helping research of the polar regions and global climate change.
The satellite can report sea ice changes, which could help with ship navigation and make channel risk assessments.
Thursday's launch is the 310th mission of the Long March carrier rocket series.