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China launches remote sensing satellites

PTI | Beijing |

China on Wednesday successfully launched a pair of high-resolution remote sensing satellites to get commercial images.

The satellites were launched from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in Shanxi Province, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The satellites, SuperView-1 01/02, blasted off at 11:23 am Beijing time on the back of a Long March 2D rocket.

They are able to provide commercial images at 0.5-meter resolution.

The satellites launch followed release of a white paper on Tuesday which said China plans to form a BeiDou network consisting of 35 satellites for global navigation services by 2020. It is expected to compete with America s Global Positioning system.

China plans to start providing basic services to countries along the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-century Maritime Silk Road in 2018, it said. 

Besides satellite services, the paper said China will launch a lunar probe in 2018 to achieve world s first soft landing on the far side of the Moon to show case its ambitious space programme, which included several manned missions, building permanent space station and reaching to Mars.