China takes steps to boost commercial use of remote sensing satellites

Jilin-1 satellite is launched on Oct. 7, 2015.  (Photo/Xinhua)

China is speeding up its commercial use of remote sensing satellites, a key move to boost the industry, said Xu Wen, president of the China Center for Resources Satellite Data and Application, Science and Technology Daily reported on Jan. 2.

The country had already started building a remote sensing satellite industry by the end of last century. However, for many years the data provided by these satellites was not able to satisfy demand.

In 2008, the country built a satellite system focused on providing medium and low-resolution data, which was far from suitable for commercial use. Besides, the number of such satellites was too small for sustainable service, and the resolution was low, Xu said.

In 2010, China launched a special high-resolution Earth observation project, and now there are six high-resolution satellites in orbit for civilian use.

Nowadays, data sent back by remote sensing satellites are gaining customer recognition, and the market share of high-definition data has gradually risen to 85 percent in China, said Xu.

China has taken some steps in the development of commercial remote sensing satellites. In 2015, the first remote sensing satellite of the Jilin-1 satellite series was launched, with a plan to put 138 satellites into service by 2030, thereby increasing temporal resolution to ten-minute revisits.

Globally, remote sensing satellites accounted for less than one percent of the total application scale in 2017, with a net worth of about $260 billion, Xu said.