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FSW-2 (FSW-1B) Imagery Intelligence

The third model of China's retrievable reconnaissance satellites is China's second-generation satellites, and is also called "general land survey remote-sensing satellite." It represents a fundamental improvement on the first two models of reconnaissance satellites. China successfully launched and retrieved three such satellites between 1992 and 1996.

The launch of what would have become FSW-18 [FSW-2 4] on a CZ-2C booster was anticipated in late 1998, but as of mid-2005 this launch had still not taken place, and the FSW-2 program appeared to have ended in favor of the FSW-3.

The FSW-2 retrievable reconnaissance satellites weighs over 3,000 kilograms. Compared with the old models, the weight and capacity of the payload of the retrievable part is 53 percent and 15 percent larger respectively, while the capacity of the airtight cabin is 20.3 percent larger.

Compared with the first-generation reconnaissance satellites, China's second-generation satellites showed great improvements in terms of their orbit life, satellite picture resolution ratio, film load and effective utilization of films. Due to these factors, the volume of information collected by each of these satellites was at least 13 times more than that collected by first-generation satellites. This represented a gigantic leap.

The FSW-2 series of imagery intelligence spacecraft are capable of stays of up to 16 days in length. The FSW-2 has a greater payload capacity than the FSW-1, but details about sensor resolution limits have not been revealed. In addition to exhibiting lower perigees (170-175 km), both of the FSW-2 spacecraft demonstrated small maneuver capabilities during their missions. These attributes would increase the military utility of the vehicles; however, to date no significant photo recon program for national security objectives appears to be underway.

The FSW-2 debuted on 9 August 1992 with the launch of FSW-2 1 by the new CZ-2D booster from Jiuquan. The heavier (2.4-3.1 metric ton) FSW-2 resembles the FSW-1 with an additional cylindrical module 2.2 m in diameter and 1.5 m long for a total length of 4.6 m. The major advantages of the newer model are an increased payload (350 kg maximum recoverable; 400 kg maximum non-recoverable) and a longer mission duration (up to 18 days). Unlike the FSW-1, the FSW-2 has a modest mono-propellant orbital maneuver capability (References 609-611, 621).

The second FSW-2 [FSW-2 2] was launched on 3 July 1994 into an orbit of 173 km by 343 km at an inclination of 63.0 degrees. The spacecraft remained in orbit for 15 days, making four small maneuvers before successfully returning to Earth. The payload included Earth observation systems, a biological experiment, and microgravity research instruments.

FSW satellites were normally flown only once each year and usually in the August-October period. On 20 October 1996 FSW-2 3 was carried into space by a CZ-2D, and it was successfully recovered in China on 04 November 1996.

The FSW-2 satellite was started in the beginning of the 90's, to pass through 28 month-long arduous struggles to develop successfully, was the second-generation returns to the type to observe the national territory general survey satellite. It fully inherited and has absorbed the first two kinds returned to the type satellite model (FSW-0 and FSW-1) the success experience and the mature technology; Also has a bigger innovation and the improvement in this foundation, is one kind brand-new, versatility returns to the type satellite.

FSW-2 is one kind of low track, the three axle is stable, to the center of earth direction detection, returns to the cabin to be possible safely to return to the ground the satellite. Its primary mission is observes to the place; Simultaneously also uses the satellite the surplus load ability, embarks the form to carry on some national science, the technological development urgently needed experiment project; In the certain degree, has made up our country at present not the special-purpose micro gravity test satellite and the engineering research satellite insufficiency.

The FSW-2 satellite divides into equipment capsule and returns to the cabin two sections. Equipment capsule harmoniously seals up the holds by the non- seal service module is composed, two is the riveted joint in together. The returns cabin applies the brake the cabin to be composed. When returns, returns to the cabin and the equipment capsule separation. Reigns after applies the brake the cabin base brake rocket work to finish, applies the brake the cabin to separate. Applies the brake the cabin to burn down in the atmospheric reentry process. It is equipped with the heatproofing structure safely through the atmosphere, is prearranging the safe landing. Its main technical characteristic is:

The ground resolution and the gain information content observes which to the place becomes doubles the enhancement. FSW-2 returns to the type satellite use extremely widely, it gains spatial remote sensing picture information content big, the resolution is high, regarding the national territory general survey, the geological earthquake investigates, the mineral resource resource prospecting, the farming and forestry water conservancy facility, the environmental protection as well as the national defense development has the vital role.

Satellite quality /kg
2,800 ~ 3,100
Satellite volume /m3
Satellite payload quality Returns to payload /kg
Does not return to payload /kg
500 ~ 600
Orbital motion time/day
15 ~ 17
Micro gravity magnitude /g
10-3~ 10-5
Inclination of orbit/(°)
57 ~ 70
Perigee altitude /km
175 ~ 200
Apogee altitude /km
300 ~ 400
Track cycle /min
Approximately 90

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Page last modified: 21-07-2011 00:50:15 ZULU