Yaogan Weixing (Remote Sensing Satellite)

Yaogan Weixing (“Remote-Sensing Satellite”), or Yaogan, is a series of Earth observation satellites launched by China since 2006. Chinese media has described these as remote-sensing satellites for land survey, disaster forecasting, crops yield evaluation, urban planning and scientific experiments purposes. However, they are operated by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) for imagery intelligence (IMINT) roles.

Despite all carrying the same designation, the Yaogan satellites actually consist of several different missions running in parallel, carrying either electric-optical or synthetic aperture radar (SAR) packages to capture images of Earth from Low Earth Orbit (LEO). Both of China’s prime spacecraft R&D centres, the Beijing-based China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) and Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST), have been involved in the development programme.

Name:...............Yaogan Weixing
Discipline:.........Imaging / optical / radar
Type:...............Government / military
Sponsor agency......PLA

Yaogan 1 (Jianbing 5)

Yaogan 1, also known as Jianbing 5 in its military designation, was the first-generation synthetic aperture radar (SAR) reconnaissance satellite developed by SAST. With an orbital mass of 2,700 kg, the satellite was equipped with an L-band SAR system with two working mode, capturing Earth imagery with 5 m spatial resolution and 40 km swath width in the high-resolution mode, or 20 m spatial resolution and 100 km swath width in the low-resolution mode. The satellite operated typically in a 630 km polar orbit inclined at 98°. A total of three missions of this series have been launched, all by the CZ-4C launch vehicle from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre.

Contractor..........SAST
Satellite bus:......Yaogan 1
Mass:...............2,700 kg
Dimensions:.........N/A
Solar panel span:...N/A
Orbit:..............630 km
Inclination:........98º
Stabilisation.......3-axis
Designed life.......N/A
Launch vehicle......CZ-4C
Launch site.........Taiyuan
Missions............Yaogan 1 (2006-015A)
                    Yaogan 3 (2007-055A)
                    Yaogan 10 (2010-038A)

Back to top

Yaogan 2 (Jianbing 6)

Yaogan 2, also known as Jianbing 6 in its military designation, is the electro-optical reconnaissance satellite developed by CAST, based on the CAST2000 satellite bus developed by China SpaceSat Co. Ltd. The satellite is 3-axis stabilised, with orbit manoeuvre capability. Operating from a 630 km LEO inclined at 97.8°, Yaogan 2 is capable of capturing Earth imagery with a spatial resolution of around 1.5 m. The satellite also features an S-band TT&C sub-system and an X-band data link for transmitting image data. A total of 6 missions have been launched so far, all by the CZ-2D launch vehicle from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre.

In May 2011, the Bolivarian Agency for Space Activities (ABAE) signed package worth an estimated US$140 million with China Great Wall Industries Co. Ltd (CGWIC) for the launch of Venezuelan Remote-Sensing Satellite 1 (VRSS-1), a remote-sensing satellite based on the Yaogan 2 design. The satellite was successfully launched on 29 September 2012. This was China’s first export of Earth-observing satellite.

Contractor..........CAST (prime)
                    China SpaceSat Co. Ltd. (bus)
                    CIOMP (electro-optical package)
Satellite bus:......CAST2000
Mass:...............880 kg
Dimensions:.........N/A
Solar panel span:...N/A
Orbit:..............630 km
Inclination:........97.8º
Stabilisation.......3-axis
Designed life.......N/A
Launch vehicle......CZ-2D
Launch site.........Jiuquan
Missions............Yaogan 2 (2007-019A)
                    Yaogan 4 (2008-061A)
                    Yaogan 7 (2009-069A)
                    VRSS-1 (2012-052A)
                    Yaogan 11 (2010-047A)
                    Yaogan 24 (2014-072A)
                    Yaogan 30 (2016-029A)
VRSS-1_2

VRSS 1

Back to top

Yaogan 5 (Jianbing 10)

Yaogan 5, possibly known as Jianbing 10 in its military designation, is the second-generation electro-optical reconnaissance satellite developed by CAST. The satellite operated on a 500 km LEO with an inclination of 97.3°. The satellite’s optical package, developed by Xi’an Institute of Optics and Precision Mechanics (XIOPM), has a spatial resolution of 0.77 m. A total of three missions have been launched, all using the CZ-4B launch vehicle from Taiyuan.

Contractor(s).......CAST (prime)
                    XIOPM (CCD camera)
Satellite bus:......Phoenix Eye
Mass:...............N/A
Dimensions:.........N/A
Solar panel span:...N/A
Orbit:..............500 km
Inclination:........97.3º
Stabilisation.......3-axis
Designed life.......N/A
Launch vehicle......CZ-4B
Launch site.........Taiyuan
Missions............Yaogan 5 (2008-064A)
                    Yaogan 12 (2011-066B)
                    Yaogan 21 (2014-053A)

yaogan5_01

Back to top

Yaogan 6 (Jianbing 7)

Yaogan 6, also known as Jianbing 7, is believed to be the second-generation radar reconnaissance satellite developed by SAST. Operating from a 510 km LEO with an inclination of 97.4º, the satellite is equipped with an SAR package which offers a spatial resolution of 1.5 m. A total of 4 missions have been launched since 2009, all using the CZ-2C launch vehicle from Taiyuan.

Contractor(s).......SAST
Satellite bus:......N/A
Mass:...............N/A
Dimensions:.........N/A
Solar panel span:...N/A
Orbit:..............484 x 516 km
Inclination:........97.4º
Stabilisation.......3-axis
Designed life.......N/A
Launch vehicle......CZ-2C
Launch site.........Taiyuan
Missions............Yaogan 6 (2009-021A)
                    Yaogan 13 (2011-072A)
                    Yaogan 18 (2013-059A)
                    Yaogan 23 (2014-071A)

Back to top

Yaogan 8 (Jianbing 9)

Yaogan 8, or Jianbing 9 in its military designation, is a new-generation electro-optical reconnaissance satellite developed by SAST. The satellite’s imaging package was developed by Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Machinery and Physics (CIOMP). The satellite operates at a much higher altitude than previous Chinese imagery satellites, on a 1,200 km LEO with an inclination of 100.3°. A total of five missions have been launched since 2009, all using the CZ-4C launch vehicle from Taiyuan.

Contractor..........SAST (prime)
                    CIOMP (electro-optical package)
Satellite bus:......N/A
Mass:...............N/A
Dimensions:.........N/A
Solar panel span:...N/A
Orbit:..............1,200 km
Inclination:........100.3º
Stabilisation.......3-axis
Designed life.......N/A
Launch vehicle......CZ-4C
Launch site.........Taiyuan
Missions............Yaogan 8 (2009-072A)
                    Yaogan 15 (2012-029A)
                    Yaogan 19 (2013-065A)
                    Yaogan 22 (2014-063A)
                    Yaogan 27 (2015-040A)

Back to top

Yaogan 9 (Jianbing 10)

Yaogan 9, or Jianbing 8 in its military designation, is the ocean surveillance satellite developed by China SpaceSat Co. Ltd., based on its CAST2000 satellite bus. The satellite is believed to be similar to the U.S. Naval Ocean Surveillance System (NOSS) / Whitecloud, designed to identify, locate and track naval ships in the sea. Each mission comprises a constellation of three small satellites carrying different mission packages, flying in close formation on a 1,100 km LEO inclined at 63.4°.

It is believed that each Yagan 9 series constellation consists of electro-optical imaging, SAR imaging, and possibly electronic/signal intelligence (ELINT/SIGINT) satellites to collect the optical and radio electronic signatures of surface ships, in particular carrier battle groups (CVBG). Combined with other space-based systems such as maritime surveillance satellites and data relay satellites, the Yaogan 9 constellation can provide an over-the-horizon intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting capability for China’s maritime strike forces, such as the anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) system.

A total of five missions have been launched since 2010, all using the CZ-4C launch vehicle from Jiuquan.

Contractor..........China SpaceSat Co. Ltd.
Satellite bus:......CAST2000
Mass:...............N/A
Dimensions:.........N/A
Solar panel span:...N/A
Orbit:..............1,100 km
Inclination:........63.4º
Stabilisation.......3-axis
Designed life.......N/A
Launch vehicle......CZ-4C
Launch site.........Jiuquan
Missions............Yaogan 9A/9B/9C (2010-009A/B/C)
                    Yaogan 16A/16B/16C (2012-066A/B/C)
                    Yaogan 17A/17B/17C (2013-046A/B/C)
                    Yaogan 20A/20B/20C (2014-047A/B/C)
                    Yaogan 25A/25B/25C (2014-080A/B/C)

Yaogan 9

Back to top

Yaogan 14 (Jianbing 11)

Yaogan 14, also known as Jianbing 11 in its military designation, is a high-resolution electro-optical reconnaissance satellite developed by CAST, possibly as a successor to its Yaogan 5 series. Operating from a 470 km LEO inclined at 97.2º, the satellite is believed to be able to provide Earth images with a sub-metre resolution (0.5 m). Its electro-optical package was developed by Beijing Institute of Space Machinery and Electronics (508 Institute). Two missions have been launched since 2012, both using the CZ-4B launch vehicle from Taiyuan.

Contractor(s).......CAST (prime)
                    508 Institute (electro-optical package)
Satellite bus:......Phoenix Eye?
Mass:...............N/A
Dimensions:.........N/A
Solar panel span:...N/A
Orbit:..............472 x 481 km
Inclination:........97.2º
Stabilisation.......3-axis
Designed life.......N/A
Launch vehicle......CZ-4B
Launch site.........Taiyuan
Missions............Yaogan 14 (2012-021A)
                    Yaogan 28 (2015-064A)

Back to top

Yaogan 26 (Jianbing 12)

Yaogan 5, possibly known as Jianbing 10 in its military designation, is the second-generation electro-optical reconnaissance satellite developed by CAST. The satellite operated on a 500 km LEO with an inclination of 97.3°. The satellite’s optical package, developed by Xi’an Institute of Optics and Precision Mechanics (XIOPM), has a spatial resolution of 0.77 m. A total of three missions have been launched, all using the CZ-4B launch vehicle from Taiyuan.

Contractor(s).......CAST (prime)
                    XIOPM (CCD camera)
Satellite bus:......Phoenix Eye
Mass:...............N/A
Dimensions:.........N/A
Solar panel span:...N/A
Orbit:..............500 km
Inclination:........97.3º
Stabilisation.......3-axis
Designed life.......N/A
Launch vehicle......CZ-4B
Launch site.........Taiyuan
Missions............Yaogan 1 (2006-015A)
                    Yaogan 3 (2007-055A)
                    Yaogan 10 (2010-038A)

Back to top

Yaogan 29

Yaogan 29 is a new type of SAR reconnaissance satellite developed by SAST.

Contractor(s).......SAST
Satellite bus:......N/A
Mass:...............N/A
Dimensions:.........N/A
Solar panel span:...N/A
Orbit:..............615 km
Inclination:........97.8º
Stabilisation.......3-axis
Designed life.......N/A
Launch vehicle......CZ-4C
Launch site.........Taiyuan
Missions............Yaogan 29 (2015-069A)

Back to top

Missions

# Date LV Launch Site Pad Payload Status
1 2006-04-27 CZ-4C Taiyuan LC7 Yaogan 1 (Jianbing 5-01) Success
2 2007-05-25 CZ-2D Jiuquan SLS2 Yaogan 2 (Jianbing 6-01) Success
3 2007-11-12 CZ-4C Taiyuan LC7 Yaogan 3 (Jianbing 5-02) Success
4 2008-12-01 CZ-2D Jiuquan SLS2 Yaogan 4 (Jianbing 6-02) Success
5 2008-12-15 CZ-4B Taiyuan LC9 Yaogan 5 (Jianbing 10-01) Success
6 2009-04-22 CZ-2C Taiyuan LC9 Yaogan 6 (Jianbing 7-01) Success
7 2009-12-09 CZ-2D Jiuquan SLS2 Yaogan 7 (Jianbing 6-03) Success
8 2009-12-15 CZ-4C Taiyuan LC9 Yaogan 8 (Jianbing 9-01) Success
9 2010-03-05 CZ-4C Jiuquan SLS2 Yaogan 9A/9B/9C (Jianbing 8-01) Success
10 2010-08-10 CZ-4C Taiyuan LC9 Yaogan 10 (Jianbing 5-03) Success
11 2010-09-22 CZ-2D Jiuquan SLS2 Yaogan 11 (Jianbing 6-04) Success
12 2011-11-09 CZ-4B Taiyuan LC9 Yaogan 12 (jianbing 10-02) Success
13 2011-11-30 CZ-2C Taiyuan LC9 Yaogan 13 (Jianbing 7-02) Success
14 2012-05-10 CZ-4B Taiyuan LC9 Yaogan 14 (Jianbing 11-01) Success
15 2012-05-29 CZ-4C Taiyuan LC9 Yaogan 15 (Jianbing 9-02) Success
16 2012-09-29 CZ-2D Jiuquan SLS2 VRSS-1 Success
17 2012-11-25 CZ-4C Jiuquan SLS2 Yaogan 16A/16B/16C (Jianbing 8-02) Success
18 2013-09-01 CZ-4C Jiuquan SLS2 Yaogan 17A/17B/17C (Jianbing 8-03) Success
19 2013-10-29 CZ-2C Taiyuan LC9 Yaogan 18 (Jianbing 7-03) Success
20 2013-11-20 CZ-4C Taiyuan LC9 Yaogan 19 (Jianbing 9-03) Success
21 2014-08-09 CZ-4C Jiuquan SLS2 Yaogan 20A/20B/20C (Jianbing 8-04) Success
22 2014-09-08 CZ-4B Taiyuan LC9 Yaogan 21 (Jianbing 10-03) Success
23 2014-10-20 CZ-4C Taiyuan LC9 Yaogan 22 (Jianbing 9-04) Success
24 2014-11-14 CZ-2C Taiyuan LC7 Yaogan 23 (Jianbing 7-04) Success
25 2014-11-20 CZ-2D Jiuquan SLS2 Yaogan 24 (Jianbing 6-05) Success
26 2014-12-10 CZ-4C Jiuquan SLS2 Yaogan 25A/25B/25C (Jianbing 8-05) Success
27 2014-12-27 CZ-4B Taiyuan LC9 Yaogan 26 (Jianbing 12-01) Success
28 2015-08-27 CZ-4C Taiyuan LC9 Yaogan 27 (Jianbing 9-05) Success
29 2015-11-08 CZ-4B Taiyuan LC9 Yaogan 28 (Jianbing 11-02) Success
30 2015-11-26 CZ-4C Taiyuan LC9 Yaogan 29 Success
31 2016-05-15 CZ-2D Jiuquan SLS2 Yaogan 30 (Jianbing 6-06) Success

Back to top

%d bloggers like this: