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China turns to home-grown satellite images

Published By United Press International
BEIJING, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- China says its first high-resolution, stereo mapping satellite meets international standards and the country no longer must rely on imported satellite images.

Chinese officials made the announcement in Beijing Wednesday at a seminar reviewing the research and development of the Ziyuan III satellite one year after its launch, China's official Xinhua news agency reported.

Before the Ziyuan satellite began providing data, China imported more than 90 percent of its remote-sensing data, the seminar was told.

China plans to build a complete remote-sensing mapping satellite system in 10 to 15 years, with three follow-up mapping satellites already under development, said the officials, whose names were not reported.

The second Ziyuan III satellite, set for launch in early 2014, will form a network with the first so real-time data on any given point on Earth can be retrieved throughout the day, officials said.

The first satellite -- providing imagery to aid the country's land-resources surveys, natural-disaster prevention, agricultural development, water-resources management and urban planning -- has a designed life expectancy of five years.
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