China has already built a network of satellites and other facilities for earth observation in pursuing its space programs including manned space navigation, lunar probe and Beidou navigation system, but officials said much remains to be done in the actual application of the technology.
Remote sensing via satellites and other technology has played an important role in the national economic and social development, said Xu Dazhe, head of the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence at a recent conference.
The administration will promote the construction of a high-definition earth observation system and the spatial data infrastructure, he said.
It plans to spend ten years in constructing an earth observation system that integrates use of air, space and ground based technology, including drones, satellites and GPS systems, in order to serve the economic and social development.
“China’s remote sensing application has been undergoing a rapid development. China’s remote sensing satellites have been developed from the phase of experimental application to business service,” Luo Ge, an official with the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence, said
He said the number of China’s satellites and the quality of the pictures and data taken by the satellites have been greatly improved.
On August 19, China successfully launched its most advanced earth observation satellite, the Gaofen-2, which is able to see a one-meter-long object from space in full color.
The Gaofen-2 is the second of seven satellites to be launched for China’s indigenous high-definition observation project Gaofen before 2020. The project was initiated in May 2010.
Gaofen-1, the first satellite of the project, was launched in April 2013.
Luan Enjie, an academic at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said in the area of remote sensing, China has largely relied on foreign satellites, while the launching of Gaofen-1 and Gaofen-2 satellites means the country has entered a new era of independently developing high-definition satellites.
Gu Xingfa, expert with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said China will launch more high-definition remote sensing satellites in the near future, gradually promote the application of the remote sensing satellites, and reduce its dependence on foreign satellites.