China launched a hi- resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar Satellite, Gaofen-3. The satellite was carried into space by the workhorse of the Chinese Space Agency, Long March 4C rocket on 10th August 2016.
The launch comes in close heels of the verdict from the International Court of Justice in Hague which ruled against the Chinese claims over the disputed South China Sea. The latest hi resolution satellite will provide 24 hours of non -stop view off the Chinese coast.
The latest move by China is seen by many as an escalation of tensions over the vexed question of jurisdiction of the South China Sea which is believed to harbor enormous resources of minerals and oil. All the nations which border the South China Sea have conflicting claims over the region which includes Vietnam, Philippines and Singapore.
The satellite was carried atop the Long March 4C rocket from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in northern Shanxi Province. It was the 233 flight mission by the Long March carrier rocket which has become the work horse for launching heavy satellites to the geo synchronous orbit.
China Successfully Launches Hi Resolution SAR Imaging Satellite
The Gaofen-3 is a sophisticated SAR imaging satellite with a resolution of one meter in distance and covers the entire globe to provide all weather, round the clock surveillance and will also be used in disaster warning, weather forecasting, water resource assessments, and the protection of maritime rights. Skeptics are doubtful of its civilian role based on the fact that the space program comes under the ambit of the People Army.
Last month the international tribunal had quashed China’s claims over the South China Sea. The court took cognizance of counter claims by Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. The South China Sea has become the latest flash point between US and Allies and China and is once again reminiscent of the tense relations between the erstwhile USSR and US during the cold war era.