New Delhi: In order to collect satellite data anywhere on the Earth swiftly, China has launched its first fully-owned oversees satellite ground station near North Pole.
The facility, located in Sweden about 200 kms north of the Arctic Circle, would allow China to collect satellite data anywhere on Earth at speeds that were more than twice as fast as before, said the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the academic governing body that built and runs the station.
The new facility would play an important role in China's Gaofen project ? a network of observation satellites orbiting the Earth to provide global surveillance capabilities ? which was due to be completed in 2020, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post quoted the academy as saying.
Domestic ground stations have needed up to seven hours to download the data from satellites orbiting the Earth in the past, but with the facility in Sweden the maximum delay for downloading data would be less than 3.5 hours, it said.
The shorter time is because the mapping, weather, reconnaissance and military satellites orbiting the North Pole are able to pass around the Earth about 12 times each day, while those flying over China can orbit the Earth only about five times each day, it said.
China has previously built ground satellite facilities in numerous foreign countries, mostly in Africa and South America, which are all joint ventures, the report said.
(With PTI inputs)