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Sahil Badani
Sahil Badani • Dec 29, 2015

China Launches Gaofen-4 - Its First Geosynchronous Satellite

Early today, China launched its most sophisticated observation satellite, Gaofen-4 as a part of the country’s HD earth observation project. At 00:04 am local time, Gaofen-4 was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the southwestern province of Sichuan aboard a Long March-3B carrier rocket. The State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND) said that the satellite would be used for disaster prevention and relief and their surveillance, as well as for meteorological forecast.

Gaofen-4 is a geosynchronous satellite - one that has an orbital period equal to the earth’s rotation period. Previous geosynchronous pursuits have been dominated by countries like the US in the Western Hemisphere, and Russia and India in the Eastern Hemisphere. Gaofen-4 will go down in history as China’s first such establishment, which also happens to be the 19th space mission this year.

The satellite would be used primarily by Chinse national agencies including the China Earthquake Administration, State Forestry Administration, China Meteorological Administration, Civil Affairs and others. It is interesting to note here that it was a Gaofen satellite that caught the footage of what was believed to be the debris of the Malaysian fight MH370.

Gaofen-4 would open up new avenues for research. According to SASTIND, it would focus on domestic users of high temporal resolution remote sensing image data, comprehensive disaster prevention and mitigation, geological hazard survey, forestry disaster monitoring, early warning and forecasting. It would provide crucial remote sensing data to some of the most important industries such as marine, agriculture, land and water.

Located at the orbit 36000 km from the earth, it will move in synchrony with the earth and will reach the same position in the orbit after each sidereal day. Gaofen-4 is a part of a project that aims to launch seven high definition satellites before 2020, the first of which was launched in April, 2013.

It is all this, and much more from the SASTIND that makes it look promising in the long run.

Source: Xinhua

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