China and Brazil announced they will send another satellite into space this year, following agreement on the joint earth resource satellite in Beijing this past weekend.
Brazilian ambassador, H.E. Affonso Celsode Ouro-Preto, said the CBERS-02 satellite has already been constructed by the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research and was transported to the Chinese Academy of Space Technology for debugging before launch.
The ambassador and Luan En'jie, director of the China National Space Administration announced the co-operative effort at a ceremony commemorating two-years of it's first joint resource satellite, the CBERS-01.
The first satellite was successfully launched on October 1, 1999, at the Taiyuan satellite launch centre in North China's Shanxi Province. The satellite went into operation after several in-orbit tests, ending China's dependence on foreign satellite data.
The CBERS-01 is still in orbit, despite the fact that its two-year life-expectancy has expired. The two governments are also working on the development of a third and fourth satellite, said Luan.
Luan said the CBERS-01 joint programme, hailed by Chinese President Jiang Zemin as an "excellent example of South-south Co-operation," was the first space technology project China jointly developed with another developing country.
With its launch and operation, China reached the advanced world level of the 1990s in the field of earth resources satellites, according to Luan.
The China Resource Satellite Application Centre has received about 230,000 data pictures provided by the CBERS-1 and the data covers 96 per cent of China's territory.
"If there weren't any clouds above the territory, the satellite would cover all of China," said Liu Jibing, minister of the State Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence.
The satellite data includes agricultural monitoring, natural disaster monitoring and assessment, forest and grassland surveys and data for urban development.
The Brazil ambassador said Sino-Brazilian space-technology co-operation has benefited his country economically and politically.
"It (the CBERS-01) not only provided useful information for our country, but also made Brazil independent of developed countries in using data from a resource satellite," he said.
Brazil is among the top three users of data provided by an earth resource satellite, the ambassador added.
"Based on the common interests, it's a real co-operation between two developing countries," said the ambassador.
China and Brazil signed the Protocol on the Approval of the Research and Production of the Earth Resources Satellite in July 1988.
Since then, the two sides reached several more agreements on the development of space technology.
(China Daily March 5, 2002)