The first China-France Oceanography Satellite to be launched in 2018

CFOSAT. Image courtesy of CNES.

A marine remote sensing satellite, the first satellite developed jointly by China and France, will be launched in the second half of 2018 with China’s Long March launch vehicle, announced the China National Space Administration (CNSA).

Known as CFOSAT (China-France Oceanography Satellite), the satellite will provide more accurate ocean forecasts and give earlier warning of severe weather events like storms and cyclones. It will also help scientists better understand climate change by learning more about the interactions between the oceans and atmosphere.

The satellite is currently being tested, integrated and assembled at Huairou, home of China’s first satellite. It will have a design life of three years, and be placed in a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 520km.

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Developed jointly by France’s space agency CNES and CNSA, the satellite will carry two radar instruments – SWIM (Surface Waves Investigation and Monitoring), a wave scatterometer supplied by CNES and developed by Thales Alenia Space, as well as SCAT, a wind-field scatterometer supplied by CNSA. France has also contributed the communications payload for the mission, and will provided the use of two ground stations.

The satellite bus was developed by Dongfanghong Satellite Co., Ltd, a subsidiary of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC). The bus is based on the CAST2000 platform, which has been used for several small satellites including China’s OceanSat 1 series and Venezuela’s VRSS-1. CFOSAT is expected to have a total mass of about 700kg, consisting of a 200-400kg bus mass and a 300-600kg payload mass.


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