Managed by CASIC Space Engineering Development, a Beijing-based subsidiary of the corporation, the forthcoming satellite network will provide a range of public services, including emergency response and rescue, and disaster prevention and relief. In addition to these services, the system will facilitate real-time, high-resolution observation of specific areas and targets as per user requests.
Although the network remains unnamed, its scope and capability have been outlined with precision. Comprising 300 remote-sensing satellites, the system will operate in extra-low orbits at altitudes below 300 kilometers. This strategic positioning will enable the satellites to capture a diverse array of data, from optical photos to radar data, and from hyperspectral to infrared images.
According to the company, by 2030, the network's responsiveness will be such that it can map and survey any location on Earth within a quarter of an hour from receiving a request. This ambitious timeline was announced at the 9th China International Commercial Aerospace Forum, an influential space event that kicked off in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, on Wednesday.
Remote sensing satellites are a type of satellite designed to observe, survey, and measure terrestrial objects and weather conditions. Through these satellites, space agencies are able to gain crucial insights into Earth's physical properties and phenomena.
The first step towards realizing this ambitious project will take place in December when the first satellite is scheduled for launch from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China. "It is currently being built and will carry optical remote-sensing imagers, data processors, atomic oxygen sensors and other payloads," said Zhang Nan, chief designer of the network at CASIC Space Engineering Development.
Provided the maiden satellite performs as anticipated, CASIC has plans to follow up with nine more identical satellites in 2024. These satellites will be deployed in the same orbit to demonstrate the network's technology and establish a pilot system, explained Zhang. This phased approach will allow for any necessary adjustments and refinements to be made in the early stages of the project.
CASIC's vision for a comprehensive remote-sensing satellite network underscores China's continued commitment to enhancing its capabilities in space-based technologies. These developments are expected to have far-reaching impacts not only on the nation's disaster management, but also on fields like climate research, land use planning, and national security.
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