China successfully launched the high-resolution civilian Earth observation satellite, Gaofen-7 early Sunday morning. The satellite is the most advanced in the constellation carrying breakthrough sub-meter level 3D mapping camera technology.
Gaofen-7 was launched aboard a Long March-4B from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in China’s northern Shanxi Province at 03:22 UTC. Following the launch, the rocket’s upper stage successfully placed the satellite into a sun-synchronous orbit approximately 500 kilometers above Earth.
Developed by the Chinese Academy of Aerospace Science and Technology Group, the Gaofen-7 Earth observation satellite carries a next-generation 3D mapping payload. The payload can capture high-precision laser altimetry data and high-resolution optical 3D data.
The data collected by the Gaofen-7 and other Gaofen satellites is used for land surveying and mapping, urban and rural construction, and statistical investigation according to the China National Space Administration.
Gaofen-7 is the second satellite to be added to the constellation this year. Last month, the Gaofen-10R was launched from Taiyuan and successfully deployed into orbit. The satellite was a replacement for Gaofen-10, which was lost after the failure of its launch vehicle’s upper stage. A third Gaofen satellite is expected to be launched later this week aboard a Kuaizhou 1A from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.