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China Begins Official Use of HD Earth Observation Satellite Gaofen 1

By Caleb Henry | December 31, 2013
      China satellite EO

      Chinese Flag. Photo: DCmaster

      [Via Satellite 12-31-13] China has put into service its high-definition Earth observation (EO) satellite Gaofen 1. The satellite was launched on April 26, 2013 using a Long March 2D rocket.

      Since launching, the satellite operators have tested its systems, including covering natural disasters and monitoring pollution. China’s Land and Resources, Environmental Protection and Agriculture Ministries intend to make significant use of Gaofen 1’s images.

      Gaofen 1 is the forerunner to a constellation of five to six EO satellites. The spacecraft has an expected lifespan of greater than five years, a first for low-orbit remote sensing satellites. The constellation is expected to be complete before 2016, with the next satellite, Gaofen 2, scheduled to launch in the beginning of 2014.