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Satellite able to monitor global disasters
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China will expand the use of its environmental monitoring satellites by providing more data on land, forests and farmland to help more countries deal with natural disasters, a senior official said yesterday.

A number of countries have showed interest in acquiring such data from China's satellites, Li Guoping, spokesman for the China National Space Administration (CNSA), said at a press conference on the third Sino-Brazilian Earth resources satellite, CBERS-2B, in Beijing.

Launched on Sept 19, CBERS-2B is China's first high-definition, Earth-observing satellite.

It can provide the highest resolution images of any civil satellite in China.

"Tests on data collection in Australia were conducted last year and similar tests will be carried out this year in Africa and Spain," Li said.

"In the near future, ground stations are expected to be built in some countries besides China and Brazil to receive data from CBERS-2B," he said.

In addition to paid services, the satellite is also ready to help those who need its services, for free.

Li said China and Brazil announced in November they would share data from Sino-Brazilian resources satellites with African countries, as a way to support economic development in the continent.

The CNSA also signed an international disaster-relief cooperation charter last year, agreeing to provide free data and information to countries hard hit by natural disasters, so they can monitor disasters and assess their impact.

The CBERS-2B became fully operational yesterday and will replace the CBERS-2, which was launched in 2003 and has outlived its two-year lifespan, he said.

The administration also has plans to build two more stations in Hainan province and Kashi in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, in addition to the three ground stations in Beijing, Urumqi and Guangzhou, to enhance its data-collection capacity, Li said.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Sino-Brazilian cooperation in developing resources satellites.

Both countries are now in discussions to carry out wider cooperation, he said.

(China Daily January 25, 2008)


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