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China is gradually developing a three-dimensional oceanographic system incorporating three different systems operating over five oceanographic satellites. These satellites will comprise three satellite systems, covering ocean colour, ocean dynamic environment and oceanography.

The Haiyang-1A and 1B satellites, both of which were developed and manufactured by China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), were successfully launched in May 2002 and April 2007 respectively.

The Haiyang-1A and 1B satellites are a major part of China's 3-D oceanographic system. The satellites are mainly used for monitoring water colour, water environment and temperatures, and will be used in the development and application of China's ocean biological resources, the construction and management of river mouths and harbours, the monitoring and prevention of marine pollution, the exploration and development of coastal resources, as well as research into global environment changes.