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Yaogan (in full Yaogan Weixing (遥感卫星), "Remote Sensing Satellite"; sometimes written YaoGan) refers to a series of Chinese reconnaissance satellites launched in the early 21st century.

Chinese media describe the satellites as intended for "scientific experiments, land survey, crop yield assessment, and disaster monitoring". Western analysts suspect that they are also used for military purposes.[1] Analysts believe that each satellite employs either optical or synthetic aperture radar (SAR) sensors and that the SAR satellites are of the Jian Bing-5 series.[2]

The SAR satellite was developed by the Shanghai Academy of Space Flight Technology(SAST). The electro-optical digital imaging satellite was developed by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST). It is carried into space atop a Chang Zheng (Long March) rocket.[3]

Yaogan satellites have been launched from both the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in China's northern Shanxi province and the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in China's northwestern Gansu province.[4]


Three satellites of Yaogan 9A, Yaogan 9B, and Yaogan 9C were launched together with a Long March 4C from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre, on March 5, 2010.[5]

Yaogan 11 was launched with Long March 2D from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre, on September 22, 2010.

Yaogan 1 is believed to have broken up around February 4, 2010 almost four years after it was launched. Because of the small number of pieces and low orbital speeds, it was likely due to an internal explosion, not a high-speed collision.[6]

Name Military
Approximate orbit NORAD
Contractor Launch site Launcher
Yaogan 1 JB-5-1 April 27, 2006 SAR 635–637 km, 97.9 degrees 29092 2006-015A SAST Taiyuan Long March 4B
Yaogan 2 JB-6-1 May 25, 2007 Optical 639–663 km, 97.9 degrees 31490 2007-019A CAST Jiuquan Long March 2D
Yaogan 3 JB-5-2 November 12, 2007 SAR 635–637 km, 97.8 degrees 32289 2007-055A SAST Taiyuan Long March 4C
Yaogan 4 JB-6-2 December 1, 2008 Optical 642–660 km, 97.9 degrees 33446 2008-061A CAST Jiuquan Long March 2D
Yaogan 5 JB-8-1 December 15, 2008 Optical 494–501 km, 97.3 degrees 33456 2008-064A CAST Taiyuan Long March 4B
Yaogan 6 JB 7-1 April 22, 2009 SAR 518–519 km, 97.6 degrees 34839 2009-021A SAST Taiyuan Long March 2C
Yaogan 7 JB-6-3 December 9, 2009 Optical 630–666 km, 97.8 degrees 36110 2009-069A CAST Jiuquan Long March 2D
Yaogan 8 JB 9-1 December 15, 2009 Optical 1200–1212 km, 100.5 degrees 36121 2009-072A SAST Taiyuan Long March 4C
Yaogan 9A,
Yaogan 9B,
Yaogan 9C
unknown March 5, 2010 Probable ELINT 1089–1107 km, 63.4 degrees
(Orbit of Yaogan 9C)
CAST Jiuquan Long March 4C
Yaogan 10 JB 5-3 August 10, 2010 SAR 629–627 km, 97.8 degrees 36834 2010-038A SAST Taiyuan Long March 4C
Yaogan 11 JB 6-4 September 22, 2010 Optical 670–625 km, 98.0 degrees 37165 2010-047A CAST Jiuquan Long March 2D
Yaogan 12 JB 8-2 November 9, 2011 Optical 479–495 km, 97.3 degrees 37875 2011-066B CAST Taiyuan Long March 4B
Yaogan 13 JB 7-2 November 30, 2011 SAR 502–504 km, 97.4 degrees 37941 2011-072A SAST Taiyuan Long March 2C
Yaogan 14 May 10, 2012 Optical 471–474 km, 97.3 degrees 38257 2012-021A CAST Taiyuan Long March 4B
Yaogan 15 JB 9-2 May 29, 2012 Optical 1198–1204 km, 100.2 degrees 38354 2012-029A SAST Taiyuan Long March 4C
Yaogan 16A,
Yaogan 16B,
Yaogan 16C
November 25, 2012 Probable ELINT 1085–1096 km, 63.4 degrees 39011,
CAST Jiuquan Long March 4C
Yaogan 17A,
Yaogan 17B,
Yaogan 17C
September 1, 2013 Probable ELINT 1060–1119 km, 63.4 degrees 39239,
SAST Jiuquan Long March 4C
Yaogan 18 October 29, 2013 509 km, 97.5 degrees 2013-059 Taiyuan Long March 2C
Yaogan 19 November 20, 2013 1119–1204 km, 100.4 degrees 2013-065 Taiyuan Long March 4C
Yaogan 20A,
Yaogan 20B,
Yaogan 20C
August 9, 2014 Probable ELINT 1086–1092 km, 63.4 degrees 2014-047 Jiuquan Long March 4C
Table data sourced from previously cited references, "CalSky". Web site. Retrieved 2014-08-19.  and "Real Time Satellite Tracking". Web site. Retrieved 2010-03-05. 

See also


  1. ^ Barbosa, Rui C. (April 22, 2009). "Chinese launch again with YaoGan Weixing-6 remote sensing satellite". News article. Retrieved 2009-04-23. 
  2. ^ "YaoGan Weixing / Remote Sensing Satellites". Web article. February 20, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
  3. ^ "China launches "Yaogan VI" remote-sensing satellite". News article. Xinhua. April 22, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
  4. ^ "China Launches Yaogan-4 Satellite". Magazine article. Asian Surveying and Mapping. December 2, 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
  5. ^ "China launch YaoGan Weixing-9, announce increase in vehicle production". News article. NASA March 5, 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-05. 
  6. ^ "Yaogan 1 Erupts". Arms Control Wonk. February 11, 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-11. 

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