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Successful launch of China’s first “student-made” remote sensing satellite
Author:The Research Institute of Aerospace Science and Technology of Wuhan University  Date:2022-03-25  Clicks:

At 11:06 on February 27, 2022, with the successful launch of the Long March-8 Y2 carrier rocket, the “Qimingxing-1” micro-nano satellite loaded with Wuhan University students’ aerospace dream successfully took off from Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in China.

At 14:11, the telemetry signal from the “Qimingxing-1” satellite was received and tested to be stable, indicating that the satellite was stable and working normally.

The launch of the Long March-8 Y2 carrier rocket with a total of 22 satellites onboard, which marked the maiden flight of a new model without side booster, set a new record in China for the total number of satellites sent into space by a single rocket.





In the future, “Qimingxing-1” satellite will provide experimental and teaching data for talent training in the field of aerospace information, guide more aspiring youths and “Qiming” (blaze a trail for) their aerospace dream.

Teachers and students participating in the research and development watched the live broadcast together at the second site for the launch and measurement and control of “Qimingxing-1” satellite of the Research Institute of Aerospace Science and Technology of Wuhan University.

Composed of several remote sensing satellites, “Qimingxing-1” is the first satellite in the Qimingxing series of constellation plans. The students responsible for its research and development are regarded as the protagonists. This satellite was designed and developed by WHU’s students and will serve the teachers and students of WHU in the future. Its successful launch signifies important progress from theory to practice in the teaching of remote sensing at Wuhan University.


In September 2019, during a thesis defense meeting at WHU, a student mentioned that “many new ideas could not be realized in the absence of required data.” Consequently, Professor Jin Guang and Professor Wu Zhaocong, both from the School of Remote Sensing and Information Engineering of WHU, discussed that given the heavy dependence on foreign data in the remote sensing research at WHU, why could we not develop satellites designed by ourselves and obtain remote sensing data according to our own needs?


Right then, the research and development of “Qimingxing-1” took off. The project lasted two years. More than 50 students participated in the design, development and testing of the satellite, including undergraduates (over 20), postgraduates and doctoral students, for whom applying theories from books to this practical work is also a continuous learning process.


“Qimingxing-1” is a 40 x 30 x 40 cm micro-nano satellite, weighing only 19.2 kg. It is the first visible hyperspectral and night-time light multi-spectral multi-mode on-orbit programmable satellite in China, capable of operating night and day and mastering nearly all remote sensing technologies.


“Qimingxing-1” is capable of acquiring 32 bands of hyperspectral remote sensing during the day, such as hyperspectral images of ground objects on the earth’s surface to analyze the main pollutants of water bodies and provide early warning for water body environment monitoring. At night, it can obtain 8 bands of multispectral remote sensing (even color image lights and neon lights at night can be seen) and infrared remote sensing, like night-time light earth surface images, so as to more accurately analyze the relationship between light and the economy and study the impact of light pollution on health. During the day and night, the visible spectrum remote sensing can reach a width of 107 kilometers and a resolution of 21 meters, and the infrared remote sensing a width of 100 kilometers and a resolution of 100 meters.



“Qimingxing-1” is also a teaching platform satellite. Characterized by low cost, fast response and flexibility, the satellite can provide free and flexible working mode, serving as a “space experimental station” for students, in which teachers and students can interact with the satellite in real-time and conduct independent measurement and control as well as on-orbit experiments.

The satellite mechanics experiment

Professor Jin Guang, head of the research and development team of “Qimingxing”, announced that “Qimingxing”, as the fifth satellite separated into orbit, will be launched into an earth orbit 536 kilometers away from the earth’s surface. The angle between the satellite surface and the equator of the earth is 97 degrees and the satellite will fly around the earth for 96 minutes.


Professor Jin Guang also said that in addition to serving the economic development of Hubei Province and the scientific research of teachers and students of WHU, “Qimingxing” satellite also demonstrates the research capabilities of Hubei Province and China’s responsibility as a big country. In the future, “Qimingxing” satellite will provide free shared data for all universities and research institutes around the world.


The successful development of the satellite has played an important role in promoting the interdisciplinary intersection of remote sensing science and technology and cultivating comprehensive talents in the field of remote sensing at WHU and other institutions; meanwhile, it provides an open space teaching experimental platform for teachers and students of remote sensing-related majors at home and abroad.


Long March-8 Y2 carrier rocket was successfully launched.

In the vast starry sky and the deep universe

The brightest star in the night sky shines brightly.

“I have a few lines of code, in space.

Demonstrating the exploration and innovation of people at WHU,

Qimingxingromantically pursues the infinity of knowledge.

Rewritten by: Zhou Chuangyu

Edited by: Dong Xiaoqian, Sylvia and Hu Sijia


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