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As of 2019, commercial Earth observation has taken off as a way to monitor the planet and gain meaningful, objective insights. With the rise of small satellites, innovative sensors, and big data, private firms are now able to capture more and higher quality satellite data than ever before. Companies are increasingly capitalizing on this technology to monitor environmental change, improve precision agriculture and forecast natural disasters. Additionally, the democratization of satellite data is creating new opportunities for commercial applications, industry collaborations and scientific data sharing.

China launched its latest space telescope, Xuntian, which will help with deep space observation and offer valuable insight into the evolution of stars and galaxies. This telescope is the country’s first X-ray space observatory, with its main instrument being a large-area X-ray telescope. It is expected to greatly improve our understanding of the universe, providing astronomers access to vast and previously inaccessible areas of space. Xuntian will now form part of China’s expanding space exploration program.