China today successfully launched a new civilian high-resolution mapping satellite along with two other foreign satellites.
The Ziyuan III 02 satellite took off on the back of a Long March 4B rocket from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in northern Shanxi Province.
It was the 228th flight mission by a Long March carrier rocket.
Also on board the rocket were two NewSat satellites developed by URUGUS S A, the Uruguayan subsidiary of Argentine company Satellogic, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
All three satellites have entered the preset orbits, the Taiyuan centre said in a statement.
The Ziyuan III 02 satellite will be used for land resource surveys, natural disaster prevention, agricultural development, water resource management and urban planning, among others applications.
It is the second satellite in the remote-sensing mapping system that the country plans to build by 2030.
It will join its predecessor Ziyuan III 01, launched in January 2012 to form a network and capture high-definition 3-D images and multispectral data.
There were earlier reports of another stereo mapping satellite, Gaofen-7, which is expected to be launched in 2018.
Cao Haiyi, chief designer of the Ziyuan III satellites said the new model will be able to collect 3-D images of objects 2.5 metres or longer, and reduce deviation of vertical positioning to one metre using an onboard laser range finder.
The previous model, Ziyuan III 01, could only capture upto four metres in 3-D imaging and five metres in vertical measurement.
Together, the two Ziyuan III satellites boast a “revisit time”– the time elapsed between observations of the same point on Earth– of around three days, down from five to six days when Ziyuan III 01 was operating.
“Technical indicators of the Ziyuan III satellites are on par with their most advanced peers anywhere in the world,” Cao said.