Gaofen satellites reduce China's dependence on foreign data

Huang Panyue

China's recently launched two Gaofen series satellites mark the establishment of a ground-air observation system that reduces China's dependence on foreign data, according to experts.

With the recent satellite launches, China has nearly established a Gaofen data system involving variable space resolutions and cover widths, spectral coverages and revisit periods, said Tong Xudong, director of the Earth Observation System and Data Center of China National Space Administration, reported China Youth Daily on Monday.

No ground-air high resolution observation system was available to China before the Gaofen project. Now data from Gaofen satellites has replaced foreign data, with a self-sufficient rate of 80 percent, noted Tong.

The Gaofen-6 satellite was launched on June 2. It can cover a large area of the Earth with high resolution images and is mainly used in agricultural resources research and disaster monitoring, according to the report of the Xinhua News Agency.

The Gaofen-5 satellite was launched on May 9.

The Gaofen-5 can monitor the atmosphere, water and Earth's surface for pollution, providing the most comprehensive observation data compared with other Chinese remote sensing satellites, Li Zhengqiang, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth in Beijing, told the Global Times in a previous interview.

The Gaofen-5 and Gaofen-6, together with previous Gaofen series satellites have formed a constellation in orbit, giving China an increasingly clearer view of the Earth, according to Xinhua.

"From the Gaofen satellites, we can expect China's military surveillance and remote sensing satellites to have similarly strong performance," Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Monday.

Military satellites can provide early warning for potential threats from large targets including aircraft carriers, said Song.


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