Gaofen-10 within hours – 02:40 GMT on 15th May 2016 !

Another Chinese imaging satellite will be launched tomorrow on 02:40 GMT from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on atop of Long March 2D - standard rocket used for Chinese reconnaissance and imaging satellites.

China again decided not to announce details about flight, but luckily some leaks were spotted basically thanks to the warnings referring to airspace over Jiuquan launch center. Satellite, which is planned to be launched, will be Gaofen-10 (which is also mentioned as Yaogan-30). It is next Chinese imaging satellite based probably on CAST-2000 bus and designed by Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST). According to official sources Gaofen-10, as rest of the Gaofen constellation, will serve for city planning, general observation purposes and for natural disaster imaging. According to Chinese sources satellite is called also Gaofen-10/Yaogan-30 what makes any kind of suppositions about technical specification quite hard. Gaofen satellites are in general part of the CHEOS, which was established in as independent Chinese imaging satellite program. First satellite under CHEOS program was launched on 26 April 2013 on atop Long March 2D from Jiuquan satellite center. It was Gaofen-1, designed by Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST) using CAST2000 bus. Satellite was equipped with 2 m panchromatic/8 m multi-spectral camera and additional wide angle 16 m multispectral medium-resolution camera. Last Gaofen satellite was launched on December 28, 2016, on atop of Long March 3B from Xichang space center. It was imaging satellite equipped with visible light imaging unit with resolution of 50 m and infrared imaging device operating with resolution of 400 m. Yaogan satellites are also construction of Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST) but they are considered by western specialists as military reconnaissance satellites used mainly for tracking submarines using SAR radars and optical instruments. Each Yaogan satellite is equipped with SAR radar or high resolution cameras and (as usual) is intended, according to Chinese media, to general observation and city planning (China seems to possess largest constellation of satellites for urban planning...). Last Yaogan satellite was launched on November 26, 2015 from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center. Due these differences it is hard at the moment to predict what kind of spacecraft is Gaofen-10; for sure it is imaging or remote sensing satellite but still nothing more was unveiled.

In spite of lack any precision data about Gaofen-10 we can assume that it will be satellite with optical observation devices or SAR radar onboard. It is hard to predict on which satellite bus it was built, but surely tomorrow some new details will be announced.