|Mission type||Earth observation|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||6 May 2012, 07:10:05 UTC|
|Rocket||Chang Zheng 2D|
|Launch site||Jiuquan LA-4/SLS-2|
|Perigee||492 kilometres (306 mi)|
|Apogee||504 kilometres (313 mi)|
|Epoch||6 May 2012|
Tian Hui-1 (also known as Mapping Satellite I) is a Chinese earth observation satellite built by Dong Feng Hong, a China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC). Tian Hui-1 was launched on 6 May 2012 at 9:10 UTC on a Long March 2 2D booster rocket into a sun-synchronous, polar orbit with an apogee of 490 km (300 mi) and perigee of 505 km (314 mi).
An Earth observation satellite or Earth remote sensing satellite is satellite specifically designed for Earth observation from orbit, similar to spy satellites but intended for non-military uses such as environmental monitoring, meteorology, map making etc. The first occurrence of satellite remote sensing can be dated to the launch of the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, by the Soviet Union on October 4, 1957. Sputnik 1 sent back radio signals, which scientists used to study the ionosphere. NASA launched the first American satellite, Explorer 1, in January 31, 1958. The information sent back from its radiation detector led to the discovery of the Earth's Van Allen radiation belts. The TIROS-1 spacecraft, launched on April 1, 1960 as part of NASA's TIROS Program, sent back the first television footage of weather patterns to be taken from space. As of 2008, more than 150 Earth observation satellites were in orbit, recording data with both passive and active sensors and acquiring more than 10 terabits of data daily.
The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) is the main contractor for the Chinese space program. It is state-owned and has a number of subordinate entities which design, develop and manufacture a range of spacecraft, launch vehicles, strategic and tactical missile systems, and ground equipment. It was officially established in July 1999 as part of a Chinese government reform drive, having previously been one part of the former China Aerospace Corporation. Various incarnations of the program date back to 1956.
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Tian Hui 1 is equipped with two different camera systems in the visible and infrared range. The visible light camera is able to produce three-dimensional pictures in the spectral region between 510 and 690 nanometers with a dissolution of approximately 5 meters and a field of view of approximately 25 degrees. The infrared camera reaches a dissolution of approximately 10 meters and covers four wavelengths (430 - 520 Nm, 520 - 610 Nm, 610 - 690 Nm and 760 - 900 Nm).
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