Authors: S. Chandrashekar and N.Ramani
To read the complete report click here
To cite: S. Chandrashekar and N.Ramani. China’s Space Power & Military Strategy – The role of the Yaogan Satellites, ISSSP Report No. 02-2018. Bangalore: International Strategic and Security Studies Programme, National Institute of Advanced Studies, July 2018, available at http://isssp.in/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/ISSSP-Report-July-2018.pdf.
China is now a full-fledged space power in all respects and is ready to compete with the US across the spectrum of space capabilities. Space Power seems to be critical component of its aspiration to become a global power house whose role on the regional and world stages cannot be ignored.
A new series of Yaogan satellites that have been recently launched by China clearly reinforces its pursuit of great power status. These satellites have been launched three at a time from the Xi Chang Launch complex using the CZ 2C launcher. Their altitude of 600 Km and inclination of 35 degrees are very different from the orbits of other satellites that use the Yaogan name. They are also the first Yaogan satellites to be launched from the Xi Chang Launch Centre normally used for launches to the Geostationary Orbit.
More interestingly, after launch, each triplet was maneuvered in such a way that they are equally spaced 120 degrees apart in the same orbital plane. The third and fourth triplets were also moved to occupy the same orbital plane with the six satellites being spaced 60 degrees apart. The three orbital planes occupied by the twelve satellites are also spaced equally around the earth separated by 120 degrees.