China launches first commercial Earth-observation satellite

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The competition heats up: China today successfully launched its first Earth-observation satellite for providing commercial images to the public.

A Long March 2C rocket launched the Jilin 1 satellite constellation, which consists of a primary high definition optical satellite, as well as two Lingqiao video satellites and a fourth, LQSat, to test space technology. Xuan Ming, from the Chang Guang Satellite Technology Co., Ltd, earlier told Xinhua the satellites will focus on providing images to commercial clients, while helping with harvest assessment, geological disaster prevention and resource surveys. Jilin-1 is reported to be capable of very high definition images, boasting a resolution of 0.72m with a pan-chromatic camera and a 4m resolution multi-spectral camera.

The article also provides a short but nice summary of China’s space plans for 2016, including its first manned mission since 2013.

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