New experimental satellite Tiankun-2 expected to be launched soon, says NPC deputy

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Tiankun-1 Photo: CASIC

The experimental satellite Tiankun-2 is expected to be launched in the near future, the Global Times learned from Ma Jie, party leader of the Second Academy of China Aerospace Science & Industry Corporation (CASIC). Ma is also a deputy of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s highest legislature.

Inheriting the high functional density of Tiankun-1, the first experimental satellite independently developed by CASIC, which was put into orbit in March 2017, Tiankun-2 has lower manufacturing costs and a smaller size.

According to a CASIC statement sent to the Global Times on Thursday, Tiankun-1 has been operating smoothly in orbit for five years since its launch on March 3, 2017. It has carried out a variety of tests and experiments in orbit and will continue to work beyond its expected life.

It obtained a total of 1,425 gigabytes of payload data and performed four orbital maintenance operations.

It completed 28,200 orbits around the Earth and its electronic system operated for 43,800 hours, according to the statement.

Tiankun-1 uses a modular design concept to form a small-sized satellite carrying a payload of multiple remote sensing and communication functions. It enables observation of space debris, among other tasks, which can support the country’s emergency response capability.

The development of the new Tiankun-2 satellite has reached a final testing stage and it is expected to be launched in the near future, according to Ma. To meet the growing demand for building satellite constellations, the company has focused on key stages in the design and manufacture of satellites.

CASIC has built the country’s first intelligent small satellite manufacturing line in Wuhan, capital of central China’s Hubei Province. The Smart Line delivered the first satellite in May 2021 and is now fully functional.

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