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Hi-res SAR imaging satellite launched by China

August 15, 2016

Last week, the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in northern Shanxi Province hosted the launch of China's new high-resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imaging satellite, China.org.cn reports.

According to the launch center, the Gaofen-3 satellite was launched at 6:55am Beijing time on the back of a Long March 4C rocket, marking the 23rd flight mission by a Long March carrier rocket.

The Gaofen-3 satellite is China's first SAR imaging satellite. It is accurate to one meter in distance and will cover the globe with an all-weather, 24-hour observation service.

The satellite will be used for disaster warning, weather forecasting, water resource assessments and the protection of maritime rights.

As the SAR imaging satellite uses microwave transmission, it is capable of imaging in severe weather conditions so the Gaofen-3 will better perform disaster monitoring compared to optical imaging satellites.

Deputy chief engineer of the Gaofen satellite application system, Jiang Xingwei, said: "The launch of Gaofen-3 is expected to reduce dependence on data provided by foreign microwave imaging satellites."

As a result of its 12 imaging modes, Gaofen-3 has the most imaging modes in the SAR imaging satellite family.

With the capabilities of switching freely between various imaging modes, the high-definition observation satellite can take wide pictures of both earth and sea, as well as detailed photographs of specific areas.

Deputy chief engineer of Gaofen-3 satellite system payload, Yu Weidong, states the satellite's spatial resolution ranges from one meter to 500 meters, with its largest viewing swath being 650 kilometers.

It's one-meter resolution means Gaofen-3 has the highest resolution among its kind. This enables the satellite to provide clear images of all roads, buildings and boats.

The lifespan of Gaofen-3 is longer than other China-built low orbit remote sensing satellites, with a lifecycle of eight years.

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