Chinese satellite snaps hi-res imagery of San Francisco in seconds — Analysis

Spacecraft’s remarkable stability allows for it to take photographs of large areas quickly.

In just 42 seconds, a Chinese satellite captured high-resolution images of San Francisco from the sky. According to reports, the spacecraft can spin at very high speeds while remaining stable. This keeps the image clear.

One-ton Beijing-3 satellite was successfully launched into orbit in June. The satellite is able to take high-resolution, 50-centimeters-per-pixel images from the 500 kilometer altitude it’s parked at.

Chinese media reports that the spacecraft conducted a thorough scan of the area surrounding San Francisco Bay in just 42 seconds during tests. It covered approximately 3,800 km (1,470 miles) and took only 42 seconds to complete.

“China started relatively late on agile satellite technology, but achieved a large number of breakthroughs in a short period of time,”Yang Fang was the lead scientist of the DFH Satellite Company. “The level of our technology has reached a world leading position.”

According to the research team, the satellite is one of the fastest ever constructed. The satellite’s ability to cover such vast areas in record time comes with the use of onboard AI, which helps to stabilize it. Beijing-3 has been reported to be capable of planning its own route, having monitored up to 500 places of interest during its trip around the globe.

According to tests, the satellite could spin at speeds as high as 10 degrees per second. Older satellites are more likely to produce vibrations that can affect image quality.

READ ALSO: China complains that SpaceX satellites have almost failed to land

Most existing satellites have to stay put while snapping images of the planet’s surface, as well as pass over an area several times, as they are able to photograph only a narrow stop of land directly below them. Apart from peeking America’s West Coast, the Beijing-3 was also able to scan along China’s Yangtze River, capturing the area of the winding, 6,300-kilometer-long waterway in one pass, according to the research team.

Share this story via social media



Related Articles

Back to top button