April 20, 2017

Yinghuo-1 Satellite


(Credits: Center for Space Science and Applied Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences)

YH-1 spacecraft

Flight opportunity with Phobos-Grunt

In March 2007 China and Russia signed an agreement which included the following:

  • the launch of 115 kg Chinese Mars exploration satellite Yinghuo-1 (Yinghuo is the Chinese name for Mars, from the words ying: red, and huo: unpredictable)
  • ground support of YH-1 carried out by Russia
  • joint space observations of Mars by Phobos-Grunt and YH-1.

Satellite overview

  • 3-axis stabilised platform with deployable solar panels
  • Mass: 110 kg
  • Power: 90 W average, max 180 W
  • Payload mass: 11 kg
  • Payload power: 20 W
  • Nominal lifetime: 1 year

YH-1 orbit parameters

  • Apoapsis: 80,000 km
  • Periapsis: 800 km
  • Inclination: ≤ 36°

This orbit would have covered solar winds areas, the bow shock, the magnetosheath, the magnetic pileup region, as well as the magnetotail and the plasma sheet.

YH-1 science objectives

  • In-depth study of the planet’s magnetosphere, ionosphere as well as plasma distribution and fluctuation in the Martian environment.
  • Studying ion escape mechanisms and their role in water loss;
  • Monitoring the evolution of Mars’s surface topography, dust storms, and their impact on the ionosphere.
  • Exploring Mars’ gravitational field along the equator by analysis YH-1’s orbital data.

YH-1 scientific payload

Flux-gate magnetometerMeasuring space magnetic field
Plasma packageElectron analyserMeasuring plasma distribution:
energy, mass, velocity
Ion analyser
Dual-frequency receiverIonosphere occultation
CameraImages of dust storms on Mars’s surface