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Yinghuo-1 Mission to Mars

Mission Type: Orbiter
Spacecraft Mass: 115 kg
Spacecraft Instruments:
1) plasma package: electron analyzer, ion energy and mass analyzer
2) sat-sat occultation receiver
3) flux-gate magnetometer
4) optical monitor
YingHuo-1 -- Martian Space Environment Exploration Orbiter,

Scientific Objectives of China-Russia Joint Mars Exploration Program YH-1,

The Phobos-Grunt/Yinghuo-1 spacecraft did not perform its scheduled burn to begin its trajectory to Mars.

The Yinghuo-1 ("Firefly") mission was a Chinese Mars orbiter scheduled to launch in tandem with the Russian Phobos-Grunt mission. The primary scientific objectives of the mission were to study Martian space environmental structure, plasma distribution and other characteristics; the solar wind-atmosphere coupling and energy deposition processes, martian ion escape processes and mechanisms, the regional gravity field of Mars, and to perform martian and Phobos surface imaging.

The mission also would have tested deep space navigation and communication techniques.

Spacecraft and Subsystems
The Yinghuo-1 satellite had a mass of 115 kg. The main body was box-shaped, 0.75 x 0.75 x 0.65 meters with two solar panel wings, extending to 6.85 meters from tip to tip, and a 95 cm diameter high gain antenna. The solar panels would have provide an average power of 90 W. The communications and tracking of Yinghuo-1 would have been achieved using an X-band receiver and 12 W transmitter system at 8.4 and 7.17 GHz and open-loop tracking using Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), DOR/DOD, and one-way Doppler measurements. Data transmission would have been up to 16 Kb/sec. Yinghuo-1 and Phobos-Grunt carried similar space physics payloads to allow coordinated observations of the Martian space environment. They also would have combined to study the Martian ionosphere using UHF radio occultation links. The payload included a camera, plasma detector, and magnetometer.

Mission Profile
Yinghuo-1 was stacked on a common booster below Phobos-Grunt. Yinghuo-1 launched on 8 November 2011 at 2016 UT on a Zenit 2SB41.1 rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan into an elliptical Earth orbit. The plan was to use a Fregat upper stage to carry Phobos-Grunt and Yinghuo-1 on an eleven month cruise to Mars. However, the later firings never occurred and the spacecraft remained in Earth orbit. The spacecraft are expected to re-enter the atmosphere.

The plan for the mission if it had made it to Mars was as follows: after a 10-11 month cruise to Mars, the connected spacecraft would have been injected into an 800 x 80,000 km near-equatorial (1 - 5 degree inclination) orbit with a period of about 72 hours. The spacecraft were to stay connected for approximately three of these orbits, after which the Phobos-Grunt would have detached and headed towards Phobos. Yinghuo-1 would have remained in this orbit.

Key Dates
8 Nov 2011:  Launch
Status: Unsuccessful
Fast Facts
Yinghuo-1 Facts Yinghuo means light from a firefly in Chinese.

The spacecraft was launched aboard a Russian rocket and travel to Mars with Phobos-Grunt, Russia's Martian moon lander.

The two missions were supposed to study the Martian environment simultaneously from two vantage points.

China's space program is managed by the China National Space Administration.
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Last Updated: 2 Dec 2011