China is set to launch its first remote-sensing satellite capable of detecting large lighted structures on the ground at night.
The Luojia-1A, a 10-kilogramme mini satellite, is being developed by scientists at Wuhan University in Hubei province and will carry a highly sensitive night light camera with a 100-meter ground image resolution, Li Deren, chief scientist of the project was quoted as saying by state-run China News Service.
Pang Zhihao, executive editor-in-chief of Space International magazine, said on Thursday that China now has no satellite that was specifically designed to take night images of ground structures.
He also added that now they have satellites that have infrared imagers or synthetic aperture radars to obtain images of landscapes or buildings. Compared with them, the Luojia-1A’s camera is specifically developed to capture lighted objects at night, so it is very sensitive to light. Pang added that images and data generated by Luojia satellites will be useful for provincial and city officials to monitor local economies and to improve their development planning. The satellite, to be launched this year, will be capable of detecting large lighted structures on the ground within its designated observation area, such as bridges over the Yangtze River.
He added that images taken by Luojia-1A will be clearer than those by US-developed satellites. Luojia-1A will be used to help economic planners and analysts with their research and to provide data to policymakers when they determine overseas trade measures, Li said. Wuhan University is also working with China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp to design the Luojia-1B, a remote-sensing radar satellite, and plans to send it into orbit in 2019, the report said. China plans to conduct a record number of 30 space launch missions this year as part of its efforts to expand its ambitious space program.
The record-breaking number space launches will be launched by Long March-5 and Long March-7 rockets, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation said earlier. Last August China successfully launched the world’s first quantum satellite which boosts of hack proof ultra high security features to prevent wiretapping and intercepts.