Yinghuo-1 is a joint Chinese-Russian Mars Orbiter that will be carried to the Red Planet by the Phobos-Grunt Spacecraft. The satellite is scheduled to be deployed on September 21, 2012 and start its operation in Mars Orbit. Its designed mission has a duration of two years. Yinghuo means ‘Firefly’ and relates to an ancient Chinese Name for Mars.
Yinghuo will be deployed by Phobos-Grunt and orbit the Red Planet in a highly elliptical equatorial orbit (800 by 80,000km) with 5° inclination. Its orbital period will be 72.8 degrees. The operational phase of the mission will last for one year after deployment. The scientific payload of the satellite includes a Plasma sensor suite that is comprised of an electron analyzer, ion analyzer and mass spectrometer, a Fluxgate Magnetometer, a Radio-Occulatation Sounder and two optical cameras to acquire images of Mars.
The Satellite weighs 113kg and has stowed dimensions of 750mm x 750mm x 650mm. Power will be generated by three-section solar arrays that will span 6.85m when deployed. 90W of power will be generated with peaks to 180W. Communications will be in S-Band with a bandwidth of 8 bits per second or 16kbps. The satellite operates at frequencies of 8.4 and 7.17GHz. In addition to the 950mm-diameter High Gain Antenna, a Low Gain Antenna Assembly will provide up/downlink of 80 bits per second for unpointed communication windows. On Earth, Russian and ESA Network Stations will be used to communicate with the orbiter. The Spacecraft is three axis stabilized.
The mission is China’s first of this kind and is considered a test flight.
- Investigate the Martian Plasma Environment and the Magnetic Field of Mars
- Study Martian Ion Escape Processes and determine possible mechanisms
- Measure Ionosphere Occulatation between Yinghuo-1 and Phobos-Grunt focused on sub-solar and midnight regions
- Observe and measure Martian Dust and Sand Storms