Venezuela’s new terrestrial observation satellite, called the Miranda Satellite, will be set into orbit today from the Gobi desert in northern China at 11:42 p.m. Caracas time (or Saturday at 12:12 a.m. EST).
A countdown to the launch is being held in Venezuela’s capital city at Museum Plaza near the Bellas Artes Museum. From today through Sunday, the plaza will host an exhibit on technological advances under the country’s Bolivarian government.
The first 17 minutes of the launch will be key; during this brief period, the satellite will travel almost 400 miles and depart from its rocket launcher, deploy its energy panels and then get into orbit.
The Miranda Satellite will be low-orbiting, and will send 350 high-resolution images each day of the Venezuelan territory from a height of 2.5 meters, which will be used in studies of vegetation, rivers and oceans.
The satellite will also help monitor land conditions to improve urban planning and detect the cultivation of illegal substances.
Venezuela’s Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Jorge Arreaza, said that “10 days after the launch we will begin to receive the first images from the satellite. After a series of calibration processes, we can show the country the first images, which will be of great interest.”
Miranda is the second satellite Venezuela has launched. The first, the Simón Bolívar Satellite, went into space in October 2008, and is used for information and telecommunications particularly in remote areas of the country.
AVN / Press Office of the Venezuelan Embassy to the U.S. / September 28, 2012