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China's Small Satellite Constellation for Disaster and Environment Monitoring and forecasting was approved by the State Council in 2003, and will be deployed in two stages. The first stage comprises three SAR satellites: Huanjing-A, B and C. The second stage will see the deployment of further eight satellites: four optical satellites and four SAR satellites.

The Huanjing-A and B satellites are important parts of the constellation. Both satellites were manufactured by China Spacesat Co. Ltd., and were successfully launched in September 2009.

Both satellites are compact optical satellites. With a lifespan of more than three years, they are equipped with state-of-the-art imaging systems and infrared cameras, and provide a global scan every two days.

The satellites can closely monitor natural disasters and provide quick assessments of damage as a guide to rescue and reconstruction efforts. The satellites provide unparalleled monitoring of the environment in terms of scale, speed and ability to operate regardless of weather.