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Tsinghua-1: The Mission

Tsinghua-1: The Mission

No longer operational, Tsinghua-1 was a microsatellite developed and built in a joint venture between SSTL and Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. A team of 10 Chinese researchers from Tsinghua University worked alongside the SSTL team during the 18 month project. 

Tsinghua-1 was a 50kg demonstrator microsatellite with a mission  to demonstrate high-resolution imaging for disaster monitoring and mitigation and conduct communications research in LEO. 

The spacecraft was three-axis stabilized using a combination of passive (gravity-gradient boom) and active (magnetorquers, reaction wheels) actuator elements. The platform was nadir pointing. with the capability to perform fast slew maneuvers within ±15º about the roll axis (or ±180º about the yaw axis). An off-nadir pointing configuration could be sustained for up to half an orbit. Onboard data handling was provided with a dual CAN (Controller Area Network) bus (ISO 11898 & ISO 11519-1) 20 Mbit/s, and INMOS serial point-to-point link 9.6 kbit/s asynchronous duplex UART (Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter).

The Tsinghua-1 spacecraft ceased to be operational on 26th December 2002 providing mission operations for 900 days.
From launch to the end of the mission the microsatellite was controlled by the Tsinghua ground station located at Tsinghua University. During the operational period, a lot of testing and experimentation were done, including 3-axis stabilized control experiments, GPS testing based on commercial components in orbit, data transfer, etc. More than 1200 images were taken, and over 11,000 telemetry files and 850 MByte telemetry data were downloaded, including subsystem status data, power, temperature, attitude sensor output, tele-commands, etc.


Satellite Data


Tsinghua University, China

Earth Observation and Comms demonstration



Launch Data

Launch Date:
28 June 2000

Launch Site:
Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia


700km sun-synchronous

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