China Hurtles Into Orbit Another New Mapping Satellite

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | May 7, 2012 1:13 PM EST

A new remote sensing satellite has been hurtled into space by China, the world's second-largest economy, on Sunday.

Launched using a Long March 2-D carrier rocket, China launched the mapping satellite Tianhui I-02 into its preset orbit from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gansu province.

Located in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center was China's first satellite launch center. It is also known as the Shuang Cheng Tze launch center.

As with Tianhui I, which China dispatched into space in August 2010, the new satellite Tianhui I-02 will likewise be operated for mapping using stereo-topographic techniques from orbit. The equipment was developed and produced by a company under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).

The Tianhui-1 satellites form part of the Ziyuan program which cover various civil and military earth observation and remote sensing programs. The Ziyuan-1 program is focused on Earth's resources and looks to have two distinct military and civil branches, according to the NASASpaceFlight.com. The Ziyuan-2 program is for aerial surveillance, while the Ziyuan-3 series will be used for stereo mapping.

China aims to gather as much as remote sensing information and test results from the satellite in order to improve its scientific research and economic development.

China, which has catapulted an ambitious space programme of 100 rockets and 100 satellites in space by 2015, had launched in 2011 19 satellites. It eclipsed the 18 satellites that the United States managed to launch in the same year.

Zhang Jianheng, deputy general manager of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp (CASC), had earlier said that China will send an average of 20 launch missions each year into orbit before 2015.

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