Oct 29, 2012

The new Chinese civillian high resolution Earth observation satellite series

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This is one of the 16 main programs announced in a 15 year plan of Chinese national scientific and technology programs between 2006 and 2020 by the State Council. Apparently it will become the main civillian Earth observation project of China in the next few years, using satellites as well as aeroplanes and even stratosphere balloons. (the first satellite of the series, GF-1 (gao fen = high-resolution), is listed in NSF’s 2013 launch schedule as the “civilian high-resolution remote sensing satellite”). The program was started in 2010, and by this year ground systems and imaging are under development. At least 14 satellites are planned with launch times from 2013 to 2020.

The original launch schedule for several missions under this program is as follows:

  • GF-1: 2012 (2m res. pan-chromatic camera/8m res. multi-spectral camera/16m res. wide-angle multi-spectral camera)
  • GF-2: 2013 (1m res. pan-chromatic camera/4m res. multi-spectral camera)
  • GF-3: 2015 (1m res. C-band synethic aptitude radar)
  • GF-4: 2015 (50m res. fixed-point camera in geostationary orbit)
  • GF-5: 2015 (visible light-near infrared hyper-spectral camera/full-frequency spectrometer/atmospheric greenhouse gas monitor/atmospheric trace gas absorption spectrometer atmospheric aerosol multi-angle photometer/atmospheric environment very-high resolution infrared radiation detector)
  • GF-6: 2016 (2m res. pan-chromatic camera/8m res. multi-spectral camera/16m res. wide-angle multi-spectral camera)
  • GF-7: 2018 (hyper-spectral sterographic cartography cameras)

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