BEIJING — China has begun building a high-definition Earth-observation system, with its first space launch of 2013. A Long March 2D rocket launched the Gaofen 1 satellite and three other, small spacecraft for foreign customers on April 26 from the Jiuquan launch center in northwestern China. Gaofen 1 is the first of five or six spacecraft that are planned to be launched for high-definition observation of the planet between now and 2016, say state media. “Gaofen” means “high ...

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