The HJ-2A and HJ-2B satellites were launched on September 27 via a Long March-4B carrier rocket. These satellites will replace the 12-year-old HJ-1A and HJ-1B.
The satellites have seen great improvements in data acquisition and technical performance, compared with the older generation of environmental monitoring satellites.
The satellites will be mainly used for disaster prevention and mitigation as well as environmental protection, and provide strong support for monitoring of natural disaster elements, macro-monitoring of land use and supervision of water resources. They will also help with dynamic monitoring and yield assessment of crop areas, and earthquake emergency rescue.
Both satellites are equipped with four payloads, including a 16-meter camera, hyperspectral imager, infrared camera and atmospheric corrector, and can provide 16-meter multi-spectral, 48-meter hyperspectral and 48-meter infrared image data.
The old generation satellites HJ-1A and HJ-1B, which were launched in 2008, have acquired large amounts of remote sensing data during their in-orbit operations and provided important evidence in some of China's major natural disasters, such as the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in Southwest China's Sichuan Province, the 2010 Yushu earthquake in Northwest China's Qinghai Province, and the 2010 Zhouqu mudslide in Northwest China's Gansu Province.
As it was reported earlier, the last launch of the Ukrainian satellite of remote sensing of the earth took place in 2011.