Credit: Xinhua

Credit: Xinhua

China launches first shared education satellite

According to a report by Xinhua, China launched its first shared education satellite, Young Pioneer 1, into space from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre. Carried by the Long March-2D rocket, the 3-kg CubeSat Young Pioneer 1 entered an orbit of 502km above the Earth on Feb 2.

As China’s first shared education satellite, Young Pioneer 1 will perform wireless storage and transmission of radio waves at UV frequency, space imaging and the verification of user links to the Internet of Things (IoT).  

After in-orbit tests, Young Pioneer 1 will share its data resources with primary and secondary schools and other education institutions equipped with sub-stations in China. It will provide students with experiences like wireless communication and space photography.

Students are also involved in the design of Young Pioneer 1. Since 2016, the design of the satellite has seen the participation of students from over 1,000 schools across China. Functions such as wireless communication and space photography were also inspired by ideas and proposals from these young enthusiasts.

In December 2017, the main ground station of Young Pioneer 1 was completed in the China Soong Ching Ling Science and Culture Center For Young People. It will allow young people to gain a thorough view of the satellite's position, orbit and pictures. To spark students’ interest in space and technology, a series of sub-stations have been constructed or are under construction in schools in Beijing, and Hainan, Guangdong and Henan provinces.

Young Pioneer 1 was manufactured and tested by Commsat, a Beijing-based commercial aerospace and private satellite company funded by the Xi'an Institute of Optics and Precision Mechanics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

Xinhua quoted Xie Tao, Founder and CEO of Commsat, who shared that the Young Pioneer 1 satellite is equipped with “an intelligent CPU chip that will enable the satellite to restart if problems occur, just like a smart phone.”

In the latter half of 2018, Commsat plans to launch a constellation of seven satellites, including an entertainment satellite in cooperation with ofo, a Chinese bike-sharing company.

According to a report by China Daily, the Long March-2D rocket also carried Zhangheng 1, an electromagnetic satellite to study earthquake data, and five other miniaturized satellites.  

Zhangheng 1 (ZH-1) is China's first space-based platform for earthquake observation. The satellite is an important platform for studying the electromagnetic environment of Earth and has vital applications in research into the precursors of earthquakes.

The 730-kg Seismo-Electromagnetic Satellite ZH-1 fills a blank in China's exploration of the global geomagnetic field, the ionospheric environment and its variations, which are closely related to earthquakes.

“The launch marks China's preliminary establishment of a dynamic three-dimensional earthquake monitoring system throughout the country, by filling the observational gaps in the Qinghai-Tibet plateau and sea regions in ground-based networks,” Zheng Guoguang, Head of the China Earthquake Administration, commented.

With a design service life of five years, ZH-1 is the first Chinese satellite launched for geophysical field exploration. A second satellite, with a more accurate measurement capability, is expected to be launched in 2020.

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