Ziyuan 3 is a civil high-resolution survey and mapping satellite, designed and built by CAST for the Chinese Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR). The MLR began to develop the concept of a high-resolution survey satellite for mapping role in 2005, and the Ziyuan 3 project was officially approved by the Chinese government in 2008. Engineering development of the satellite began in 2009. The launch of the first satellite was scheduled in January 2012 from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre on a Changzheng 4B rocket, together with the VesselSat-2 satellite of Luxembourg. A total of three satellites have been planned.
Ziyuan 3 was similar in design and roles to the Tianhui 1 military survey satellite. It was based on the same three-axis stabilised Ziyuan 2 satellite bus, with a designed life of 4~5 years. The 2,630kg satellite was fitted with a pair of solar panel, and had an S-band telemetry, tracking and control (TT&C) subsystem. The satellite operated in a 506km sun-synchronous orbit (SSO), and could cover all areas on the Earth surface between 84°N and 84°S latitude every 59 days.
The satellite was equipped with an electro-optical payload package designed by the Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Machinery and Physics (CIOMP). The package was designed to obtain three-dimensional images of the Earth using three high-resolution panchromatic cameras positioned 22° from each other to face forward, vertical to ground, and rear. The front- and rear-facing cameras had a spectral resolution of 4.0m and 52.3km ground swath. The ground-facing camera had a spectral resolution of 2.5m and 51.1km ground swath. Additionally, the package also included an infrared multispectral scanner (IRMSS), which had a spectral resolution of 10m and 51km ground swath.
Ziyuan 3 imaging system
Last updated: 3 April 2012