China Launches High Resolution Maritime Surveillance Satellite

China  Long March 4C rocket
A Long March 4C rocket carrying a new high-resolution Maritime Synthetic Aperture Radar imaging satellite blasts off at the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Taiyuan, capital of north China’s Shanxi Province, Aug. 10, 2016.

CN News reports that China has launched a new high-tech high-resolution imaging satellite to safeguard China’s maritime rights and interests.

Launched two days ago, the Gaofen 3 high-resolution Earth observation satellite was launched with the intent of providing 24-hour observation of China’s territorial seas and to safeguard its maritime interests.

The satellite is equipped with a radar system and 12 imaging modules that capture images from space with a resolution down to 1 meter according to the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, which oversees China’s space programs.

The Gaofen 3 was developed by the China Academy of Space Technology in Beijing and is said to be capable of generating radar images regardless of weather conditions at sea.

The satellite will play an important role in monitoring the marine environment, islands and reefs, and ships and oil rigs transiting the region, said Xu Fuxiang, head of the Gaofen 3 project at the academy.

“China has a total of 32,000 km of coastline, 380,000 square kilometers of territorial seas and more than 6,500 islands that have an area of at least 500 square meters,” said Xu Fuxiang told CN News, “satellites like the Gaofen 3 will be very useful in safeguarding China’s maritime rights and interests.”

Five Gaofen satellites where launched between April 2013 and last year. The next generation of the Gaofen array will be optical remote sensing satellites and are under development, according to the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense.