Tuesday, July 3, 2007

China expands space reconnaissance power rapidly

(my previous news story publish in Jane's Defense Weekly)

China successful launched "Yaogan-2" satellite on last Friday and this event has disclosed that China is expanding its reconnaissance satellite system in full speed. April 27th last year, "Yaogan-1" satellite was launched.
Actually, the name "Taogan" (Remote-Sensing) is a modified designation for opening news. As matter of fact, the "Yaogan-1" satellite is JB (JianBing)-5 SAR reconnaissance satellite, which produced by N0.8 Research Institute of China Aerospace
Science and Technology Corporation(CASC); and the "Yaogan-2" is JB-6(FWS-2) digital imaging spy satellite made by CASC's N0.5 Research Institute.

The family of JianBing series satellite can be traced to 1975 and now exists for 32 years. Before 2006, China has totally launched 25 JB spy satellites with 4 generations, including JB-1 (No.1-No3 recoverable satellites, 3 days
life), JB-1A(No.4-No.9 returnable satellite, 5 days life), JB-1B(No.10,No.11,No12,No14,No15 returnable satellites, 8 days life), JB-2(No.13,No.16,No.17 returnable satellites, 15 days on orbit), JB-3(ZY-2 3 satellites , 2-3 years life) and JB-4 (No.18-No.22 returnable satellites, 27 days life).

JB-3 is a testing space SAR system and includes 3 stars. JB-3 has become an experimental platform of distributed military SBR (Space Based Radar), which is listed in the national "863" projects. JB-5 is China's first practicable Space real-time SAR reconnaissance satellite. And JB-6 is China's most advanced decimeter-level digital imagine reconnaissance satellite, which uses China's Off-axis Three-mirror Reflective Optical System and high-speed real-time
motion picture compressing encoding technology. This encoding technology will later used in lunar observing, Shenzhou-7 partner micro satellite and HuanJing-1 (Circumstance-1 or HJ-1) 2+1 constellation.

HJ-1 is a back-up for JB satellites, including 2 small imaging spy satellites and 1 SAR satellite. The primary star will be launched in the latter half of 2007. HJ-1 system is a formation flying and distributing constellation for tracing aircraft carrier group. China's plan is to build a 4+4 constellation through international cooperation. Finally HJ-1 can help partner countries to monitor the naval forces on their peripheral sea area. Iran, Pakistan, Brazil and Egypt are probably the potential clients of China.

According to schedule, China will launch JB-7 SAR satellite in 2008 and JB-8 imaging satellite in 2009. In 2010 when China in 11th five-year-plan, the 2nd generation SAR satellite will carried to space by LM-4D rocket.

China has pay much on PLA military satellites. Besides reconnaissance satellites, China has designed ST-1 (Chinasat-20) strategic Communication satellite, FH-1 (Chinasat-20) tactic communication satellite, BD/compass guidance satellite, TL-1 Data Reply satellite. From the launching of Nigeria Communication satellite, it is obvious that China will have power to bring more developing countries into military satellite club.

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