The sixth satellite jointly built by China and Brazil is scheduled to be launched next year, said space authorities from the two countries.
The Earth-observation satellite – designated CBERS-04A – will operate in a sun-synchronous orbit, always facing the sun 628 kilometers above the Earth’s surface. Its cameras will photograph the ground, the China National Space Administration said in a statement on Thursday.
The satellite will be able to produce pictures covering 90 km, with high resolution. It will be capable of transmitting images to ground control in real time, the statement said.
According to the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research, the satellite will be carried into orbit atop a Long March 4B rocket, made by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology, from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in northern China in the first half of next year.
The Brazilian institute said on its website that the satellite will have a weight of 1,980 kilograms and will carry seven scientific devices, such as a panchromatic and multispectral camera and a wide-field imaging camera. It is expected to work five years in space, the institute said.
In July 1988, the Chinese and Brazilian governments agreed to carry out a joint space effort called the China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite program.
The first satellite out of the program, CBERS-1, was successfully launched in October 1999. The second and third satellites, CBERS-02 and CBERS-02B, were launched in October 2003 and September 2007. The fourth in the series, CBERS-03, was lost in a launch failure in December 2013. The fifth one, CBERS-04, was placed in space in December 2014. All of the missions involved China’s Long March 4B rockets launched from the Taiyuan center.
Following the CBERS-04A, scientists from the two nations have started discussing technical plans for the CBERS-05 and CBERS-06 satellites, Li Guoping, secretary-general of China National Space Administration, said at a ceremony on Thursday in Beijing marking the 30th anniversary of China-Brazil space cooperation.