China plans to launch three small satellites in 2006 to improve its capability to monitor the environment and forecast disasters, environmental officials said Friday.
A spokesperson for China's State Environmental Protection Administration said the satellites, including two using optical instruments and one featuring synthesized aperture radar, will be used to observe the atmosphere, soil, vegetation, and water over a large area in the country.
The satellites will also be used to observe the ecological environment on a regular basis to forecast possible changes and provide emergency technical assistance for early warning of major pollution accidents, said the spokesperson.
The three satellites, plus 2,223 environmental observation stations on the ground, will form a complete observation network for the environmental watchdog.
Chinese scientists are working on the research and construction of the satellites, which was approved by the Chinese government last year.
(Xinhua News Agency August 9, 2003)