September 8, 2008

Chinese Vice Premier Hails Launching of Disaster-Monitoring Satellites

Chinese Vice Premier hails launching of disaster-monitoring satellites

BEIJING, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu on Saturday sent a congratulatory letter to the team that put two small disaster-monitoring satellites into orbit.

"My heartfelt thanks and profound respect go to all the researchers, scientists and staff who participated in the research and launch work of the satellites," read the letter.

Hui, who is also chairman of the national disaster reduction committee, said the satellites would provide an important channel for China to monitor, forecast and assess natural disasters and help disaster relief work.

He also called for more efforts to ensure the smooth operation and use of the satellites. Efforts should be made to fully use their disaster forecasting and monitoring functions, he said.

China launched the two small satellites from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in north Shanxi Province on Saturday morning. At about 12:16 p.m., the satellites went into orbit.

The move was a part of the country's efforts to create a satellite constellation with four optical satellites and four synthetic aperture radar satellites running in space at the same time.

The constellation, once completed, would enable China to have dynamic, all-weather and round-the-clock monitoring service for natural disasters and ecological environment.

The satellites were also expected to provide quick assessments of damage to guide rescue and reconstruction work.

Small satellites, or miniaturized satellites, are artificial satellites of low weights and small sizes, usually under 1000 kg. Small satellites are designed to reduce the cost as they requires smaller and cheaper launch vehicles and can sometimes launched in multiples.

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