Earth satellites for space.

in Popular STEMlast month

Earth satellites for space.


In an extraordinary achievement of space engineering, a Chinese satellite performed a groundbreaking maneuver to avoid a potential colossal asteroid disaster. Asteroid 1994 PC 1, comparable in size to San Francisco's iconic Golden Gate Bridge, was 2 million away. kilometers from Earth, five times farther than the moon, making it difficult for astronomers to accurately predict its trajectory.

It was there that the Chinese satellite Jilin –1 entered the scene, normally used for Earth observation. Jilin –1 performed a bold maneuver, turned its camera towards space and began taking photos of the asteroid every second, from the 17th to the 21st. January 2022 captured crucial data that allowed the asteroid's orbit positioning error to be reduced to just 33 km.

This precision significantly increased the ability of ground-based telescopes to monitor the asteroid, confirming that it would pass safely by Earth without risk of collision, the mission remained secret until recently when it was declassified by the Chinese Regime.

This revelation highlighted the advanced capabilities of Chinese satellites causing concern in Western nations, especially in the United States, there is growing concern that the expansion of China's space capabilities could be used for military purposes, upsetting the strategic balance in the space.

Follow-up experiments will be conducted to observe fainter asteroids near Earth using existing space equipment, said the project team at the National Astronomical Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The research was published in the Chinese journal of Deep space exploration in April, the Ging One constellation with more than 100 satellites is the backbone of the network that observes our planet from space and is under the control of China, these satellites are known for its fast, high-resolution imaging capabilities, having captured and intrigued details of an American F22 jet fighter in flight and a rocket launch, however, tracking asteroid millions of miles away required innovative adjustments, including modification of the exposure parameters of the optical sensors.


Although the European space agency and NASA are exploring the use of satellites dedicated to observing asteroids, their plans remain largely theoretical, in contrast China's experience demonstrates that existing Earth observation systems can be adapted to improve the early warning capabilities for high-risk asteroids.

On the global stage, the United States leads in space resources with more than 8,000 satellites in orbit, dominated by SpaceX's Starlink satellites. However, the rapid growth of China's space observation system, including the Jelin-1 satellites, has raised alarms in the US military worried about being left behind in the space race.

Despite these geopolitical tensions the focus remains on technological and scientific achievements, China's ability to redirect its Earth observation satellites to tracking asteroids in deep space is a significant milestone.



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