Space technologies in agriculture – China launched Jilin-1 satellites on atop Long March 2D on 7th October 2015

Chinese observation satellite designed to help in commercial agriculture, preventing disasters and exploring natural resources was launched on 7th October from launch site LC43 in Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, China.

Number of economy sectors where contribution of space technology is important part is still increasing. One of most important and on literally every person is agriculture. Basing on space observation, computer aided machines is called Precision agriculture (PA) or satellite farming or site specific crop management (SSCM). Sometimes still considered as science fiction (just like farming in Interstellar movie) becomes reality and is considered as one of most promising technologies in agriculture. It should not be surprising that commercial market demands new solutions, especially observation satellites.

Jilin-1 mission is series of four satellites (Jilin-1, Lingqiao-A, Lingqiao-B and LQSat) designed Chang Guang Satellite Technology Co., Ltd under the Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences. It is planned as long time venture - to 2030 Chinese have ambition to possess constellation of 138 satellites. In 2019 it is planned to start operating worldwide and provide data for customers with update time of 4 hours. Data will help in exploring resources, harvest assessment and geological disaster prevention. Jilin-1 is equipped with high resolution pan-chromatic camera (0.72 m) and multi spectral (4 m resolution) camera. Its weight is 452 kg and it is powered by deployable solar panels. Next two satellites are designed as video observation - equipped with 4k high resolution cameras. Their weight is at 95 kg and they are powered by solar panels. Last satellite from first phase is demonstration satellite designed in micro technology. Provided with 2 m camera and transponder working on UHF and 2.4 Ghz frequencies. It will be powered by fixed solar array and its weight will be at 54 kg.

Long March 2D is two stage LEO and SSO rocket designed in early nineties. Offers 3500 kg payload capacity for LEO and 1200 kg for SSO missions.  It is equipped with liquid fueled engines with N2O4/UDMH. First stage is equipped with four YF-21C engines generating 2961.9 kN of thrust. Second stage propulsion is combination of one YF-22C and four YF-23C with thrust at 742.04 kN. Rocket is long for 41 m with diameter at 3.35 m and weighs 223250 kg.

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_March_(rocket_family)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_March_2D
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-10/07/c_134689715_2.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precision_agriculture

China launches Jilin-1 mission via Long March 2D