Wednesday, September 25, 2013

China Secretly Launches Satellite to Monitor Natural Disaster

A soldier gestures in front of the launch pad in Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center (Reuters / Jason Lee, 2012)

A satellite for natural disaster monitoring was successfully launched into orbit at 12:37 p.m. Wednesday, China's Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center has announced. The satellite Kuaizhou I, or speedy vessel I, will be used to monitor natural disasters and provide disaster-relief information for its user, the National Remote Sensing Center of China, a public institution under the Ministry of Science and Technology. Very little is known about the Kuaizhou rocket, other than it was developed by CASIC. No photos or graphics exist in the public domain.

Built by the Harbin Institute of Technology, the new satellite will be used for emergency data monitoring and imaging, under the control of the national remote sensing center at the national Academy of Sciences.

The satellite was carried by a small launch vehicle bearing the same name as the vessel Kuaizhou. 

The new satellite is probably part of a “quick response satellite system” model that was already announced as in the works by the Chinese.

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