TAIYUAN (XINHUA) – China has successfully launched two environmental monitoring satellites from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in northern Shaanxi Province yesterday. A Long March-4B rocket carrying the HJ-2A and HJ-2B satellites took off at 11.23am (Beijing Time), according to the launch centre. They will replace the HJ-1A and HJ-1B, the previous generation of environmental monitoring satellites, to provide services concerning environmental protection, natural resources, water conservancy, agriculture and forestry, according to the satellite developer China Academy of Space Technology (CAST).
The HJ-2A and HJ-2B are 16-metre optical satellites with high mobility, precision control and stability, as well as strong load adaptability and long lifespans.
The satellites can provide 16-metre multi-spectral, 48-metre hyperspectral and infrared image data.
They will support the monitoring of natural disasters and land utilisation, regulation and protection of water resources, dynamic monitoring of crop areas and assessment of yield, as well as quake emergency rescue.
The HJ-1A and HJ-1B were launched in 2008 and provided remote sensing data for disaster relief during the 2008 earthquake in Wenchuan County, Sichuan Province, the 2010 earthquake in Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Qinghai Province and the 2010 mudslide in Zhouqu County.