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China launches Haiyang 1D satellite to monitor Earth's oceans

An ocean observation satellite soared into space from China's Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in the country's north Shanxi Province on Thursday (June 11).

The Haiyang 1D (HY-1D) satellite — a name that means "ocean" in Chinese — rode to orbit aboard a Long March 2C rocket. Launch time was 2:31 a.m. Beijing time Thursday, June 11 (2:31 p.m. EDT or 1631 GMT Wednesday, June 10) and the satellite was put into space successfully, according to Chinese state news sources.

"The new satellite will form China's first satellite constellation for marine civil service together with HY-1C, which was launched in September 2018, and double the current ocean observation data, according to CNSA [China National Space Administration] and the Ministry of Natural Resources," state news provider Xinhua said in a report.

Video: China launches ocean observation satellite
Related: China launches 2 rockets in 2 days, lofting 4 satellites to orbit

A Chinese Long March 2C rocket launches the Haiyang 1D ocean monitoring satellite from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in northern China, on June 11, 2020. (Image credit: China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation)

"The satellite constellation is expected to improve China's capabilities in observing ocean color, coastal resources and ecological environment, and ramp up support for meteorology, agriculture, water conservation and transportation," Xinhua added. Multiple news sources said the satellite would also help manage Chinese fisheries and track ships.

The satellite has a spatial resolution of 165 feet (50 meters) and will allow a more frequent revisit capability to certain locations after it is added into the constellation.

"Each satellite can see the globe twice a day for morning and evening. And for two satellites, it will be four times [for the whole day]. So the overall observation efficiency will be doubled," said Bai Zhaoguang, director of science and technology commission with developer China Spacesat Co. Ltd, in state news source CCTV.

The launch was developed by Aerospace Dongfanghong Satellite Co., Ltd., affiliated with the Fifth Academy of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, according to a machine-translated report from Space China. This mission was the 334th launch of the Long March rocket series.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook

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Elizabeth Howell

Elizabeth Howell is a contributing writer for who is one of the few Canadian journalists to report regularly on space exploration. She is the author or co-author of several books on space exploration. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Dakota in Space Studies, and an M.Sc. from the same department. She also holds a bachelor of journalism degree from Carleton University in Canada, where she began her space-writing career in 2004. Besides writing, Elizabeth teaches communications at the university and community college level, and for government training schools. To see her latest projects, follow Elizabeth on Twitter at @howellspace.