2012-10-01 — China has sent a remote sensing satellite, the “VRSS-1,” into space from northwest China’s Gobi dessert for Venezuela, the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center said in a statement.
The launch, at noon Saturday, marks China’s first in-orbit delivery of a remote sensing satellite to an international customer, it said.
According to the statement, VRSS-1 is Venezuela’s first remote sensing satellite, and it will be mainly used for the country’s land resources inspections, environmental protection, disaster detection and management, crop yield estimation and city plans.
China’s Long March-2D carrier rocket, designed by China Aerospace and Technology Corporation, was used for the launch, the statement said.
The success of the launch will promote China’s development in new fields, including remote sensing satellites, carrier rockets, image processing and other relevant industries, the statement said.
In 2008, China launched Venezuela’s first satellite — the Venesat-1, or “Simon Bolivar” — to carry communications facilities.
Venesat-1, which was a jointly built telecommunication satellite, made Venezuela the fourth Latin American country to own a satellite after Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.
VRSS 1 is Venezuela’s second satellite built by China, which launched a communications satellite named Venesat 1 in 2008.
Venezuelan state media reported the VRSS 1 project cost about $140 million.
The satellite was named after Francisco de Miranda, a Venezuelan revolutionary hero. Venesat 1 was nicknamed Simon Bolivar, after the leader of Venezuela’s struggle for independence.
The Miranda satellite will assess Venezuela’s soil and water resources, collect images to help urban planners, monitor illegal mining and drug activities, and strengthen national defense, according to Venezuelan state television.
The craft’s sensors can resolve objects 8.2 feet (2.5 meters) across. The satellite will return 350 images per day during its five-year mission, according to Jorge Arreaza, Venezuela’s minister for science, technology and innovation.
The Miranda satellite will collect its first image around Oct. 10, a posting on a Venezuelan government website said.
VRSS 1 will be operated by the Bolivarian Agency for Space Activities on behalf of the Venezuelan government.