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On 27 September 2003 the Tsinghua-1 satellite was launched from Plestek, Russia. The Tsinghua-1 satellite was built by SSTL for Beijing's Tsinghua University. This microsatellite is a demonstrator for a planned constellation of five similar spacecraft that would provide worldwide imaging of disaster areas. Tsinghua-1 is also slated to conduct communications research in low-Earth orbit.

The HTQH-1 developed by China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation, Tsinghua University and British Surrey University also has optical remote sensing capability. The satellite can be used for communications, earth remote sensing and science research.

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