China launched its first satellite of the year on 9 January at 0317 UTC. The satellite was placed in orbit by a Long March 4B (Chang Zheng-4B -Y26) rocket, from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in China.
The ZiYuan-3 (ZY-3) satellite is a high-resolution geological mapping satellite. Instruments include an infrared multispectral scanner (IRMSS), and three high resolution panchromatic cameras. Monitoring will include land resources and water conservation. Other tasks include urban planning, support of farming programs and reduction in the impact of natural disasters.
The satellite will orbit in a 505.984 km sun-synchronous solar orbit with 97.421 degree inclination. This orbit will have a re-visit cycle of 5 days. Surveys will run from 84 degrees north and 84 degrees south latitude.