Chinese Mars exploration program

Chinese Mars exploration program

Little is known of the Chinese Mars exploration program. While the Moon is the first priority, there are plans for Martian exploration that follow upon the work done in the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program. China has been studying the necessity and feasibility of Mars exploration since early 1990s as part of the national "863 Planetary Exploration" project, according to Liu Zhenxing, a researcher from the CAS Center for Space Science and Applied Research (CSSAR).

The overall plan could have four phases:

*Phase 1 (up to 2009) includes all the preparations before the first mission. This includes international cooperation, definition of exploration goals and projects, and key technologies.

*Phase 2 (after 2009) includes orbiter missions that probe the Martian environment, preparing for future soft-landing missions on Mars.

*Phase 3 would launch spacecraft to land on the red planet, including rovers.

*Phase 4 would establish surface observation stations, develop shuttle vehicles between Earth and Mars, and build bases that robot astronauts would attend to. The work in this phase would create a foundation for future human flights to Mars and human-tended observing outpost.


Name = Yinghuo-1
萤火一号 Mars-1 or Firefly-1

Caption =
Organization = CNSA
Major_Contractors =
Mission_Type = Orbiter
Satellite_Of = Mars
Launch = October 2009
Launch_Vehicle = Zenit rocket
Decay =
Mission_Duration = 1 year in Mars orbit
Mass = 110 kg
Webpage =
Semimajor_Axis =
Eccentricity =
Inclination = 5°
Orbital_Period = 3 days
Apoapsis = 800 km
Periapsis = 80,000 km
Orbits =

On March 26, 2007, the director of the China National Space Administration, Sun Laiyan, and the head of the Russian Space Agency, Anatoly Perminov signed the "Cooperative Agreement between the China National Space Administration and the Russian Space Agency on joint Chinese-Russian exploration of Mars". This include the launch of a Mars probe named Yinghuo-1 (萤火一号 or "Mars-1", "Firefly-1") scheduled for October 2009. The probe will be 75 cm long, 75 cm wide and 60 cm high. Weighing 110 kg, it is designed for a two-year mission, according to Chen Changya, a researcher at the Shanghai Institute of Satellite Engineering.

Chinese Yinghuo-1 and Russian Phobos-Grunt will be sent together to Mars by a Russian Zenit rocket with a Fregat upper stage from Baikonur Cosmodrome in October 2009. [ [ Phobos-grunt mission] ] In August–September 2010, after voyage of 10–11.5 months, Yinghuo-1 separates and enters an 800 × 80,000 km three-day equatorial orbit (at 5° inclination). The spacecraft is expected to remain in Martian orbit for one year. Phobos-Grunt and Yinghuo-1 will conduct Mars ionosphere occultation experiments.

Yinghuo-1 will focus mainly on the study of the external environment of Mars. Space center researchers will use photographs and data to study the magnetic field of Mars and the interaction between ionospheres, escape particles and solar wind. [cite web|url=|title =China and Russia join hands to explore Mars|publisher= People's Daily Online|date=May 30, 2007|accessdate=May 31|accessyear=2007]


*110 kg
*Power: 90 W (averaged), 180 W (peak)
*HGA 0.9–1 m dish (S-band), 10 W transmitter to 50 m Chinese dish, 2,500 bit/s
*LGA: 80 bit/s (up/down link),
*2×3 section solar array, total length 5.6 m
*3-axis stabilized, solar array perpendicular to the Sun
*Direct communication with Earth


* []

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