China to Launch First Maritime Satellite

China is scheduled to launch its first maritime satellite on the first half of next year, according to sources from the opening ceremony for the National Maritime Satellite Appliance Center.

Listed in China's Ninth Five-year Plan (1996-2000), the "HY-1" maritime satellite, with the service life of two years, is China's first satellite of its kind. In a sun synchronous orbit, 79-kilometer in height, the HY-1 satellite will explore the water color and temperature by visible lights and Infra-red methods. The maritime satellite, which has been written in the White Paper on China's Space Activities, will establish a long-term stable system of earth observation satellites together with the weather and resources satellite series.

By observing such data as the optics characteristics of seawater, chlorophyll density, sea surface temperature, suspended sand content, yellow materials, and maritime contamination, the HY-1 will get lots of useful information data including primary productivity distribution, the resources and environmental quality of maritime fish breeding and the distribution law of suspended sand, thereby providing a scientific basis for resources usage, environmental protection, and law enforcement management.

To safeguard China's maritime rights and interests, working along with airplanes, ships, buoys, and stations, the maritime satellite will make stereo and dynamic observations of China's sea area, said Wang Shuguang, Director of the State Oceanographic Administration. And China will set up a system of maritime satellites, including HY-1 series of water color system, HY-2 series for dynamic marine environment and HY-3 series for comprehensive environment.

According to an official with the National Maritime Satellite Appliance Center, China is striving for narrowing the gap between China and developed countries or even outdoing them on the launch and control of maritime satellite and relevant technologies by 2015.

As reported, the HY-1 will be carried by the Fengyun I-II satellite (Fengyun means wind and cloud in Chinese), with the total investment for the ground appliance system reaching 87 million yuan.

(People’s Daily November 21, 2001)

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