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Gaofen Weixing
Gāo Fēn
Program overview
Program history
First flight26 April 2013
Last flight20 August 2023
Launch site(s)
Vehicle information
Launch vehicle(s)

Gaofen (Chinese: 高分; pinyin: Gāofēn; lit. 'high resolution') is a series of Chinese high-resolution Earth imaging satellites launched as part of the China High-resolution Earth Observation System (CHEOS) program.[1][2] CHEOS is a state-sponsored, civilian Earth-observation program used for agricultural, disaster, resource, and environmental monitoring. Proposed in 2006 and approved in 2010, the CHEOS program consists of the Gaofen series of space-based satellites, near-space and airborne systems such as airships and UAVs, ground systems that conduct data receipt, processing, calibration, and taskings, and a system of applications that fuse observation data with other sources to produce usable information and knowledge.[2][3]

Although the first seven Gaofen satellites and their payloads have been heavily detailed, little to no details on Gaofen 8 and later satellites have been revealed prompting suggestions that Gaofen satellites may be dual purpose supporting both civilian and military missions.[2][4][5][6][7]

In 2003, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) agreed with Roscosmos to share Gaofen data for data from Russia's Earth observation satellites of similar capability. This agreement was expanded in August 2021 when leaders from BRICS space agencies agreed to share space-based remote sensing data.[8]

Notable satellites


Gaofen-5 has been lauded as the "flagship of the environment and atmosphere observation satellite in the CHEOS program". Launched on 8 May 2018 from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center (TSLC) into sun-synchronous orbit, Gaofen-5 carries six payloads: an Advanced Hyperspectral Imagery sensor (AHSI), Atmospheric Infrared Ultraspectral Sensor (AIUS), Directional Polarization Camera (DPC), Environment Monitoring Instrument (EMI), Greenhouse-gases Monitoring Instrument (GMI), and Visual and Infrared Multispectral Sensor (VIMS).[2][9]

The Advanced Hyperspectral Imagery (AHSI) sensor payload aboard Gaofen-5 claims to be the first space-based hyperspectral imaging sensor utilizing both convex grating spectrophotometry and a three concentric-mirror (Offner) configuration.[10] The AHSI uses spectrophotometry to measure the light spectra reflected, transmitted, or emitted by an imaged object to detect or identify objects on the ground.[10] In civilian applications, the AHSI allows analysts to conduct environmental monitoring and resource discovery while in a military application would allow analysts to detect and identify an adversary's equipment or spot non-multi-spectral camouflage.[10][11][12] AHSI has a 30 meter spatial resolution and 5 nanometer spectral resolution in the visible, near-infrared (NIR), and short-wave infrared (SWIR) wavelength ranges.[12]

The Atmospheric Infrared Ultraspectral Sensor (AIUS) payload aboard Gaofen-5 is China's first hyperspectral occultation spectrometer meaning it measures the spectra of imaged atmospheric particles between the sensor and the Sun.[13][14] AIUS allows scientists to monitor atmospheric circulation by tracing H
(water vapor), temperature, pressure, and various carbon and halogen-containing gas pollutants such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), dinitrogen pentoxide, and chlorine nitrate.[14][15] A Michelson interferometer, AIUS images wavelengths between 2.4 and 13.3 micrometers (near to mid-wave infrared) at a 0.3 centimeter resolution and a ±10° field of view.[14]

Gaofen-5's Directional Polarimetric Camera (DPC) is China's first space-based multi-angle polarimetric camera.[9] Prior to GF-5's launch, in September 2016, China had experimented with polarimetric imaging in 2016 aboard the Tiangong-2 space laboratory and launched its Cloud and Aerosol Polarimetric Imager (CAPI) aboard TanSat in December of that year.[9][16] CAPI imaged clouds within 670 and 1640 nanometer channels but was restricted to fixed-angle imaging. The DPC aboard Gaofen-5 enables atmospheric spectroscopy in three polarized bands (90, 670, and 865 nm; polarized at 0°, 60°, and 120°) and five non-polarized bands (443, 565, 763, 765, and 910 nm), all wavelengths from green to near-infrared (NIR). A step motor rotates the 512 × 512 pixel charge-coupled device (CCD) imager ±50° providing a 1,850 km swath of imagery at 3.3 km resolution.[9][17]


Since the program's start in 2013, the People's Republic of China has launched 30 Gaofen-series satellites and has not yet experienced a launch failure. Jilin-1 satellites described as 'Gaofen' are not part of the government's Gaofen series, rather are described as having high resolution (Chinese: 高分; pinyin: Gāofēn).[18]

Designation Launch date
Payloads Orbit Orbital apsis Inclination SCN COSPAR ID Launch vehicle Launch site Status
Gaofen 1 26 April 2013 2m PAN, 8m MSI, 4x 16m WFV MSI SSO 632.8 km × 662.7 km 98.1° 39150 2013-018A Long March 2D Jiuquan SLC Operational
Gaofen 2 19 August 2014 0.8m PAN, 3.2m MSI SSO 630.5 km × 638.0 km 97.7° 40118 2014-049A Long March 4B Taiyuan SLC Operational
Gaofen 8 26 June 2015 EO SSO 501.7 km × 504.5 km 97.6° 40701 2015-030A Long March 4B Taiyuan SLC Operational
Gaofen 9-01 14 September 2015 EO SSO 624.5 km × 671.3 km 97.8° 40894 2015-047A Long March 2D Jiuquan SLC Operational
Gaofen 4 28 December 2015 50m VIS, 400m MWIR GEO 35,782.4 km × 35,806.4 km 0.1° 41194 2015-083A Long March 3B Xichang SLC Operational
Gaofen 3 9 August 2016 C-band SAR SSO 757.9 km × 758.8 km 98.4° 41727 2016-049A Long March 4C Taiyuan SLC Operational
Gaofen 1-02 31 March 2018 2m PAN, 8m MSI, 4x 16m WFV MSI SSO 645.4 km × 649.0 km 97.9° 43259 2018-031A Long March 4C Taiyuan SLC Operational
Gaofen 1-03 31 March 2018 2m PAN, 8m MSI, 4x 16m WFV MSI SSO 642.9 km × 651.9 km 97.9° 43260 2018-031B Long March 4C Taiyuan SLC Operational
Gaofen 1-04 31 March 2018 2m PAN, 8m MSI, 4x 16m WFV MSI SSO 644.3 km × 650.5 km 97.9° 43262 2018-031D Long March 4C Taiyuan SLC Operational
Gaofen 5 8 May 2018 303km POL MSI, 0.3cm HSI, 30m HSI SSO 706.2 km × 707.0 km 98.3° 43461 2018-043A Long March 4C Taiyuan SLC Operational
Gaofen 6 2 June 2018 MSI SSO 641.0 km × 654.3 km 97.9° 43484 2018-048A Long March 2D Jiuquan SLC Operational
Gaofen 11-01 31 July 2018 EO SSO 493.1 km × 512.5 km 97.6° 43585 2018-063A Long March 4B Taiyuan SLC Operational
Gaofen 10R 4 October 2019 Unknown SSO 632.0 km × 634.4 km 97.9° 44622 2019-066A Long March 4C Taiyuan SLC Operational
Gaofen 7 3 November 2019 2x 0.8m PAN, 2.5m MSI SSO 500.7 km × 517.9 km 97.4° 44703 2019-072A Long March 4B Taiyuan SLC Operational
Gaofen 12 27 November 2019 SAR SSO 634.4 km × 636.5 km 97.9° 44819 2019-082A Long March 4C Taiyuan SLC Operational
Gaofen 9-02 31 May 2020 EO SSO 493.9 km × 511.3 km 97.4° 45625 2020-034B Long March 2D Jiuquan SLC Operational
Gaofen 9-03 17 June 2020 EO SSO 491.5 km × 513.9 km 97.4° 45794 2020-039A Long March 2D Jiuquan SLC Operational
Gaofen DUOMO 3 July 2020 EO SSO 635.5 km × 657.6 km 97.9° 45856 2020-042A Long March 4B Taiyuan SLC Operational
Gaofen 9-04 6 August 2020 EO SSO 497.9 km × 506.4 km 94.4° 46025 2020-054A Long March 2D Jiuquan SLC Operational
Gaofen 9-05 23 August 2020 EO SSO 493.5 km × 511.9 km 97.4° 46232 2020-058A Long March 2D Jiuquan SLC Operational
Gaofen 11-02 7 September 2020 EO SSO 500.7 km × 505.2 km 97.4° 46396 2020-064A Long March 4B Taiyuan SLC Operational
Gaofen 13 11 October 2020 50m VIS, 400m MWIR GEO 35,782.5 km × 35,806.1 km 0.2° 46610 2020-071A Long March 3B Xichang SLC Operational
Gaofen 14 6 December 2020 EO SSO 492.9 km × 198.4 km 97.4° 47231 2020-092A Long March 3B/G5 Xichang SLC Operational
Gaofen 12-02 30 March 2021 SAR SSO 634.7 km × 636.6 km 97.9° 48079 2021-026A Long March 4C Jiuquan SLC Operational
Gaofen 5-02 7 September 2021 303km POL MSI, 0.3cm HSI, 30m HSI SSO 705.4 km × 710.2 km 98.2° 49122 2021-079A Long March 4C Taiyuan SLC Operational
Gaofen 11-03 20 November 2021 EO SSO 498.6 km × 504.8 km 97.4° 49492 2021-107A Long March 4B Taiyuan SLC Operational
Gaofen 3-02 22 November 2021 C-band SAR SSO 757.5 km × 759.2 km 98.4° 49495 2021-109A Long March 4C Jiuquan SLC Operational
Gaofen 3-03 6 April 2022 C-band SAR SSO 757.8 km × 758.9 km 98.4° 52200 2022-035A Long March 4C Jiuquan SLC Operational
Gaofen 12-03 27 June 2022 SAR SSO 633.3 km × 367.1 km 98.0° 52912 2022-069A Long March 4C Jiuquan SLC Operational
Gaofen 5-01A 8 December 2022 HSI SSO 706.1 km × 709.0 km 98.1° 54640 2022-165A Long March 2D Taiyuan SLC Operational
Gaofen 11-04 27 December 2022 EO SSO 498.6 km × 504.8 km 97.4° 54818 2022-176A Long March 4B Taiyuan SLC Operational
Gaofen 13-02 17 March 2023 Unknown GTO 35,788.4 km × 35,802.1 km 3.0° 55912 2023-036A Long March 3B/E Xichang SLC Operational
Gaofen 12-04 20 August 2023 SAR SSO Long March 4C Jiuquan SLC Operational
Table data sourced from previously cited references, CelesTrak, N2YO, NASA, and the U.S. Space Force

See also


  1. ^ "China launches another Gaofen Earth observation satellite". Spaceflight Now. 8 September 2020. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d Chen, Liangfu; Letu, Husi; Fan, Meng; Shang, Huazhe; Tao, Jinhua; Wu, Laixiong; Zhang, Ying; Yu, Chao; Gu, Jianbin; Zhang, Ning; Hong, Jin (8 April 2022). "An Introduction to the Chinese High-Resolution Earth Observation System: Gaofen-1~7 Civilian Satellites". Journal of Remote Sensing. 2022: 1–14. Bibcode:2022JRemS202269536C. doi:10.34133/2022/9769536. S2CID 247446513.
  3. ^ China High-resolution Earth Observation System (CHEOS) and its Latest Development (PDF). Earth Observation System and Data Center, CNSA. February 2014.
  4. ^ Smid, Henk H.F. (26 September 2022). An analysis of Chinese remote sensing satellites (Report). Space Review.
  5. ^ Qi, Lu (27 December 2021). "呂琪:夜空中最亮的星—盤點中國系列衛星" [[Military Blog Review] Lv Qi: The Brightest Star in the Night Sky - Inventory of Chinese Satellites]. Lite News Hong Kong (in Chinese).
  6. ^ Zhen, Liu (12 October 2020). "China is sending more of its Gaofen satellites into space. Here's why". South China Morning Post.
  7. ^ Jones, Andrew (22 November 2021). "China launches new Gaofen-11 high resolution spy satellite to match U.S. capabilities". SpaceNews.
  8. ^ Iderawumi, Mustapha (19 August 2021). "BRICS Space Agencies Leaders Signed Agreement to Share Remote Sensing Satellite Data". Space in Africa. Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  9. ^ a b c d Zhengqiang, Li; Hou, Weizhen; Hong, Jin; Zheng, Fengxun; Luo, Donggen; Wang, Jun; Gu, Xingfa; Qiao, Yanli (12 April 2018). "Directional Polarimetric Camera (DPC): Monitoring aerosol spectral optical properties over land from satellite observation" (PDF). Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy & Radiative Transfer. University of Iowa, Chinese Academy of Sciences (published 7 July 2018). 218 (218): 22–23. Bibcode:2018JQSRT.218...21L. doi:10.1016/j.jqsrt.2018.07.003. S2CID 126349523 – via Elsevier Science Direct.
  10. ^ a b c Liu, Yin-Nian; Sun, De-Xin; Hu, Xiao-Ning; Liu, Shu-Feng; Cao, Kai-Qin (1 June 2020). "AHSI: the Hyperspectral Imager on China's GaoFen-5 Satellite". Earth and Environmental Science. 509 (1): 012033. Bibcode:2020E&ES..509a2033L. doi:10.1088/1755-1315/509/1/012033. S2CID 225552086.
  11. ^ Hsu, Su May; Kerekes, J.P.; Berke, Hsiao-Hua; Crooks, S. (April 1999). "SAR and HSI data fusion for counter CC&D". Proceedings of the 1999 IEEE Radar Conference. Radar into the Next Millennium (Cat. No.99CH36249). pp. 218–220. doi:10.1109/NRC.1999.767320. ISBN 0-7803-4977-6. S2CID 15912558.
  12. ^ a b Ge, Xiangyu; Ding, Jianli; Teng, Dexiong; Xie, Boqiang; Zhang, Xianlong; Wang, Jinjie; Han, Lijing; Bao, Qingling; Wang, Jingzhe (1 August 2022). "Exploring the capability of Gaofen-5 hyperspectral data for assessing soil salinity risks". International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation. 112: 102969. doi:10.1016/j.jag.2022.102969. ISSN 1569-8432. S2CID 251557178.
  13. ^ Li, Xiaoying; Xu, Jian; Cheng, Tianhai; Shi, Hailiang; Zhang, Xingying; Ge, Shule; Wang, Hongmei; Zhu, Songyan; Miao, Jing; Luo, Qi (January 2019). "Monitoring Trace Gases over the Antarctic Using Atmospheric Infrared Ultraspectral Sounder Onboard GaoFen-5: Algorithm Description and First Retrieval Results of O3, H2O, and HCl". Remote Sensing. 11 (17): 1991. Bibcode:2019RemS...11.1991L. doi:10.3390/rs11171991. ISSN 2072-4292.
  14. ^ a b c Chen, Liangfu (13 October 2016). Mission Overview GaoFen-5 (PDF). 12th Meeting of the CEOS Atmospheric Composition Virtual Constellation (PowerPoint presentation). Seoul, Korea.
  15. ^ Chen, L.; Tao, M.; Wang, Z. (1 December 2018). "The GaoFen-5 satellite for air pollution monitoring in China: first results and general performance". AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts. 2018: A51A–04. Bibcode:2018AGUFM.A51A..04C.
  16. ^ "TanSat". eoPortal.
  17. ^ Qie, Lili; Li, Zhengqiang; Zhu, Sifeng; Xu, Hua; Xie, Yisong; Qiao, Rui; Hong, Jun; Tu, Bihai (13 August 2021). "In-flight radiometric and polarimetric calibration of the Directional Polarimetric Camera onboard the GaoFen-5 satellite over the ocean". Applied Optics. 60 (24): 7186–7199. Bibcode:2021ApOpt..60.7186Q. doi:10.1364/AO.422980. PMID 34613006. S2CID 237688592.
  18. ^ Jones, Andrew (9 December 2022). "China launches hyperspectral Earth-imaging satellite to orbit (video)".