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HKUST’s Leap in Environmental Monitoring

Image Credits: HKUST, Press Release
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Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) has unveiled plans to launch an advanced multispectral optical satellite in collaboration with a China-based satellite technology company. The cutting-edge satellite, named “HKUST-FYBB#1”, represents a significant milestone for both HKUST and Hong Kong as it marks the university’s foray into satellite missions and paves the way for building a comprehensive environmental monitoring and disaster forecasting system.

The state-of-the-art multispectral optical satellite boasts remarkable technological capabilities. It can capture remote sensing images with an impressive spatial resolution of 0.5 meters, 20 times higher than data accessible from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 optical satellite. Furthermore, its image coverage spans over 150 kilometres, comparable to the latest U.S. land satellites.

The initial application of this satellite’s data will be the creation of a digital twin system for monitoring Hong Kong’s slopes, including simulating and visualising landslide disasters and emergency responses. This initiative aims to improve coordination and decision-making in disaster management.

HKUST’s partnership with the company extends beyond this launch. They are embarking on a long-term collaboration in satellite research and development, particularly in the realm of carbon emission monitoring and data utilisation.

Leveraging HKUST’s expertise in scientific research, meteorology, oceanography, and environmental protection, combined with Chang Guang’s extensive constellation of 108 sub-meter level commercial remote sensing satellites, they are set to construct an all-encompassing environmental monitoring and disaster forecasting system.

This system aligns with China’s dual carbon policy goals, striving to peak carbon emissions by 2030 and attain carbon neutrality by 2060. It also advances remote sensing technology, which involves collecting electromagnetic radiation information from space to understand Earth’s environment and resources.

Two donors made the launch possible, and they expressed their pride in supporting this project, marking a significant milestone in Hong Kong’s aerospace development. HKUST’s Council Chairman highlighted the university’s commitment to sustainable development and addressing global carbon emission challenges.

HKUST President emphasised the university’s dedication to impactful research and collaboration with industry partners to address global issues such as climate change and natural disasters. The company’s Deputy General Manager emphasised the strategic cooperation’s aim to advance scientific satellite development and remote sensing data applications.

HKUST’s Vice-President for Institutional Advancement underlined the university’s ambitious goal of establishing a comprehensive remote sensing satellite constellation, which will provide vital data for disaster management, smart city development, and sustainable resource management. The project aligns with national dual-carbon goals and positions Hong Kong as a leader in environmental monitoring satellite technology development.

Led by Prof. Su Hui and Prof. ZHANG Limin, HKUST’s research team will collaborate with the satellite tech company to develop high-resolution optical satellites and key technologies for carbon emissions monitoring. Their work will shape the future of remote sensing technology for environmental monitoring, contributing to energy conservation, emission reduction, and achieving national dual-carbon objectives.

In the realm of cutting-edge technology, the launch of “HKUST-FYBB#1” represents a significant step towards revolutionising environmental monitoring and disaster forecasting. With its advanced multispectral optical capabilities, this satellite underscores the fusion of scientific research and technological innovation.

As HKUST and the company embark on a collaborative journey, their partnership holds the promise of not only achieving carbon neutrality goals but also pushing the boundaries of remote sensing technology. Through their united efforts, they are poised to make significant contributions to sustainable development, cementing Hong Kong’s position as a technological trailblazer on the global stage.

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