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Satellite to Help Beijing's Olympics

A small satellite is expected to be launched in May next year to serve the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games by monitoring the capital city's venue construction, environment and traffic conditions through 2009.


It will help fulfill Beijing's promise to make the Olympics a high-tech event.


The satellite will also be the fifth one of the International Disaster Relief Network, which has seven in total, said sources.


The project will be supervised by the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Beijing Municipal Commission of Science and Technology.


The government will invest 190 million yuan (US$23 million) in the project, the Beijing Youth Daily reported.


After being launched, the 100-kilogram satellite will orbit 600 kilometers above the earth, said sources with the Beijing Municipal Commission of Science and Technology.


It will work for five years in space and will go around the earth once every 100 minutes.


"The satellite will scan the earth surface through remote sensing techniques and the resolution ratio of remote sensing photos will be four meters," Wang Zhiyong, an expert of the project, said Thursday.


Wang noted that photos will be downloaded every two months.


"The satellite will provide direct and scientific proof for the government to make decisions and supervise issues of environmental protection, urban construction, disasters and traffic conditions," Wang said.


"Furthermore, the construction of Olympic venues will be under control through the use of the satellite," he said.


Olympic venue construction will reach a peak this year as construction of 11 gymnasiums and four Olympic facilities, such as the Olympic Village, begins, said sources with the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad.


Last year, construction was started on four Olympic venues, including the National Stadium and the National Swimming Center.


"The satellite will make the statistical work of authorities easier," Wang pointed out.


"This is because sometimes time is needed to decide whether statistics from certain departments are genuine," he said.


Wang declined to release more details about the satellite.


Beijing has started some 250 high-tech projects for the 2008 Olympic games and a layout is expected to be submitted to the International Olympic Committee in October,


(China Daily April 30, 2004)


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