Optical Stereo Mapping Satellite

Stereoscopy is the technology that uses overlapping images captured from various locations to produce a three-dimensional model. It creates an illusion of the depth of 2D images.

Key Points

  • This technique was developed during World War 1 and 2, to measure the topography and ground features visible in aerial photographs.
  • Optical stereo mapping satellites use the same principle, to draw large scale digital topographic map, capture high precision stereo images globally and produce digital elevation models.
  • The satellite takes pictures of a location from two or more angles. Using the captured images, a 3D model is developed that can accurately resemble the actual topography.

China launches Gaofen-14

  • China has recently sent an optical stereo mapping satellite named Gaofen-14, using its powerful launch vehicle named Long March 3B.
  • Long March 3B usually carries satellites to high-altitude orbits (above 1000 miles) but this is the first time it has carried a satellite in low-altitude orbit. The extended version of Long March 3B was used to launch the satellite with an extended payload into 300 miles above the Earth.
  • The mission also saw upgrades to Long March 3B and the upgraded version is been called “Long March 3B/G5”.
  • The upgraded rocket was around 53m tall. The upgraded version of Long March 3B included an extended payload of 4.2m diameter. Other changes in the rocket included an update in its software and enabling Omni-directional take off roll.
  • This Earth Observation satellite is capable of taking high-resolution pictures of ground objects across the globe, producing digital surface and elevation models, drawing topographic maps, and providing geographic images.
  • Gaofen is a part of the China High-resolution Earth Observation System (CHEOS) program of China for launching a series of Earth Observation satellites.

Long March 3B

It is a launch orbital vehicle of China that was introduced in the year 1996. It is the most powerful member of the Long March family after Long March 5.