China's State Council has endorsed plans to launch the second-generation of the country's oceanic survey satellites, the state's top ocean research official said on Thursday.
The "Haiyang-2" (Ocean 2) series of satellites, a crucial component of China's civil spacecraft program, would be used to collect data on offshore wind fields, ocean circulation, tides, and sea surface temperatures, said Sun Zhihui, director of State Oceanic Administration.
China launched its first oceanic satellite "Haiyang-1A" (Ocean 1A) in 2002, to monitor ocean color and temperature through remote sensing technology.
The monitoring range of the "Haiyang-1A" covered the Bohai Sea, the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea and the South China Sea.
Sun told a national conference on oceanic administration that the country's second oceanic satellite -- the "Haiyang-1B" (Ocean 1B) the successor of the "Haiyang-1A" -- would be launched "very soon", but he did not reveal the specific timetable.
(Xinhua News Agency February 2, 2007)