China launched on Gaofen-5, the world’s first hyper-spectral satellite, to monitor air and land, a move that would give China a more comprehensive insight into the atmospheric environment, an expert said. The Gaofen-5 was launched at the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center via a Long March 4C carrier rocket. The satellite, developed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, is China’s first hyper-spectral imaging satellite that can monitor air and water pollution, survey geological resources and analyze climate changes, according to an official statement from the company website.
The successful launch of Gaofen-5 will also free China from depending on foreign hyper-spectral remote sensing data, the statement said. The Gaofen-5, with a designed lifespan of eight years, is equipped with six state-of-the-art observation payloads that would provide the most comprehensive observation data compared to other Chinese remote sensing satellites, Li Zhengqiang, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, told the Global Times.
“The observation capabilities of previous Chinese environmental observation satellites were not as comprehensive as the Gaofen-5’s. The Gaofen-5 has more sensors, especially those monitoring the air,” Li said, who is enthusiastic about Gaofen-5’s potential to monitor greenhouse gases, contaminated gases and harmful particles that cause smog. “Gaofen-5 proves the technology has matured. Loaded with multiple hyper-spectral sensors, the technology can now monitor the atmosphere, water and Earth’s surface,” Li said.