China has successfully launched a new high-resolution remote sensing satellite, state-run media reported on Friday. As China launches its 337th satellite, analysts say that it is fast becoming a superpower even in space, and may soon take away the crown from the United States in this sphere.
According to Xinhua News Agency, the country sent a high-resolution multi-mode imaging satellite into the planned orbit from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in north China’s Shanxi Province.
China launches 337th satellite: end of dependence on Western tech?
The new launch was the 337th in series, launched by a Long March-4B carrier rocket, the agency added quoting the China National Space Administration.
The move is part of the Beijing program to reduce reliance on foreign technology in the topographic mapping.
Last month Beijing launched three high-resolution Earth observation satellite into space, one of them Gaofen-9-02, to help in the construction projects associated with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) — infrastructure development and investment activity of China spread in nearly 70 countries. It also includes the flagship China-Pakistan Economic Corridor worth $50 billion.
China launches new high-resolution satellite into space
New launch was 337th in series of multi-mode imaging satellites into orbit, space agency says https://t.co/nFSXs5nYtT
— Islamuddin Sajid (@islamudinsajid) July 3, 2020
The Gaofen-9-02 is capable of taking images of the Earth’s surface with a resolution of less than a meter and will be used in land surveying, urban planning, road network design, agriculture, and disaster relief. It will support the construction of the projects in the BRI, according to state-run Global Times.
China launches 337th satellite: rival to GPS complete
Earlier, China launched the final satellite in its homegrown geolocation system designed to rival the US GPS network, marking a major step in its race for market share in the lucrative sector. With this announcement, the Chinese rival to American GPS is complete, leading it now to a race for market share.
The launch of the Beidou-3 GEO3 satellite from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center was originally scheduled for earlier but was delayed over unspecified “technical issues,” China’s space agency said.
Read more: In space, the US sees a rival in China
Completing the satellite network makes China a key player in the billion-dollar geolocation services market, observers said.
Beidou — named after the Chinese term for the plough or “Big Dipper” constellation –- is intended to rival the US’s Global Positioning System (GPS), Russia’s GLONASS and the European Union’s Galileo.
China on the road to independence from US and European systems
“I think the Beidou-3 system being operational is a big event,” Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said.
“This is a big investment from China and makes China independent of US and European systems.”
China started building its global navigation system in the early 1990s to help cars, fishing boats and military tankers navigate using mapping data from the country’s own satellites.
Now the service can be used on millions of mobile phones to find nearby restaurants, petrol stations or cinemas, to guide taxis and missiles and fly unmanned drones.
The coverage provided by Beidou, which has been in commercial use since 2012, was first limited to the Asia-Pacific region, but worldwide service has been available since 2018.
The system works on a network of about 30 satellites.
Around 120 countries are using Beidou’s services for port traffic monitoring, to guide rescue operations during disasters and other services, according to Chinese state media.
GVS News Desk with additional input by Anadolu and other sources
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