China launched the Gaofen-3 high-resolution Earth observation satellite on Wednesday morning, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense said.
The satellite blasted off at 6:55 am atop a Long March 4C rocket from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Shanxi province, carrying a C-band synthetic aptitude radar with a 1-meter ground image resolution, according to a statement from the administration, which oversees China's space programs.
Developed by the China Academy of Space Technology in Beijing, Gaofen-3 is capable of generating radar images in all weathers and can work around the clock. It will play an important role in monitoring the marine environment, and islands and reefs, as well as ships and oil rigs, said Xu Fuxiang, head of the Gaofen-3 project at the academy.
The Gaofen-3 will also play a role in disaster prevention, assessment and relief, which currently relies on imported satellite data, he added.
China launched the Gaofen project in May 2010 and has listed it as one of the 16 national important projects in science and technology. The project aims to form a space-based, high-resolution Earth observation network.
The first in the system, Gaofen-1, was sent into space from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Northwest China in April 2013. Another four Gaofen satellites were launched in 2014 and 2015.