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China's polar-observing satellite starts Arctic mission
BY 2020-06-17 14:50:27

BEIJING, June 16 (Xinhua) -- China's first polar-observing satellite has started its Arctic observation mission after orbiting Earth for nine months, sources in its operations team said Tuesday.

The mission will test the observation capabilities of the satellite, which is expected to achieve full coverage of the Arctic in seven days, said the operations team leader Chen Zhuoqi, who is also an associate professor at the School of Geospatial Engineering and Science under the Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou.

Since its launch on Sept. 12, 2019, the satellite called "Ice Pathfinder" (Code: BNU-1) has completed its Antarctic observation mission, sending back more than 1,000 images covering the south polar region.

After more than one month of in-orbit debugging and testing, the satellite platforms and sensors are in good operating condition. The first batch of Arctic data has been processed, said Cheng Xiao, lead scientist of the satellite project and professor at the Sun Yat-Sen University.

The polar-observing satellite was developed by scientists of the Beijing Normal University and Sun Yat-Sen University. It was designed to provide coverage between 85 degrees north and south latitudes.

Major satellites such as the U.S. Landsat series that monitor the Earth's resources, can cover areas between 82.5 degrees north and south latitudes.

"It means that China's polar-observing satellite has wider coverage and can help rectify the lack of polar region observation data," Cheng said.

In the past, Chinese scientists conducted polar studies mainly based on data collected by vessels and research stations. The use of remote sensing satellite technology will enable them to monitor and obtain imagery and data of difficult-to-access areas.

To further improve the country's polar observation capability, Cheng's team, together with China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, a state-owned satellite and rocket maker, has proposed a new plan to develop a mini synthetic aperture radar satellite for polar regions. 

(Editor:Grace ) (From:xinhua)
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