This article initially appeared on eastpendulum.com, a French-language blog about the Chinese military and aerospace industry A few years ago, I wrote about the Yaogan-30 constellation, which is made out of Chinese military satellites in Low Earth Orbit. By then, it had two groups of three satellites each, with the second group still having to… Continue reading Some news on the Yaogan-30 constellation
Following last year's announcement by the minister of the Armed Forces of changes in the French space defense strategy, the different options have been studied and the decisions taken by the President of the French Republic. The minister has disclosed some of the contents of this new policy in a speech on July 25, 2019.… Continue reading France’s new space defense strategy
With the new French space policy to be announced in a few months, and likely including a heavy Space Situational Awareness (SSA) emphasis, a few companies were presenting their solutions at the 2019 Paris Airshow: Sodern is working with cubesat builder Hemeria and electronics expert CS on Hirondelles, a constellation of cubesats to do satellite-to-satellite… Continue reading Space Situational Awareness news from the Paris Airshow
Persistent observation, a persistent problem For all the improvements in spatial and spectral resolution, agility and accuracy, satellites suffer from one serious drawback: they have to follow the laws of orbital mechanics and keep moving around the Earth. This means they cannot hang around an interesting location, to keep a persistent watch on it, except… Continue reading High-altitude Pseudosatellites, the future of Earth observation?
Following the previous post on Airbus’ SAR strategy, we will look at another interesting presentation from ESA's 2018 “Φ-week”, this time on an imaging payload for cubesats presented by French company Safran Reosc. Safran Reosc is a long-time supplier of space optics, specializing in polishing and coating telescopes for Thales Alenia Space or Airbus for… Continue reading Safran’s high-performance imager for cubesats
In November 2018, ESA held a series of talks on the future of Earth observation. It was part of the agency's "Φ-week" event and took place at ESA’s Earth observation center in Frascati, Italy, and the participants ranged from large space primes to small startups. The full recording of the event is available there. This… Continue reading Airbus’ SAR strategy
Great power competition did not disappear with the end of the Cold War. Nowadays, tensions are rising between the USA with Trump's zero-sum-gain policies, Russia with its aggressive behaviour toward its neighbours, and finally China with its restored military and economic status. This competition takes many forms. Trade wars, alliances and propaganda campaigns are one.… Continue reading Detecting hypersonics
On July 31st, China added a new member to its Gaofen Earth Observation constellation: Gaofen-11 (GF-11) was launched atop a CZ-4B rocket. While the early Gaofen satellites were openly described by their designers, this one is a bit more obscure. It was not in the list of planned Gaofen satellites, and the launch caught observers… Continue reading GF-11: How do you say KENNEN in Chinese?