China's first-phase Mars Exploration Program: Yinghuo-1 orbiter
Wei Zheng, Houtse Hsu, Min Zhong and Meijuan Yun
China's first Mars orbiter Yinghuo-1 associated with Russia's unmanned sample return spacecraft Phobos-Grunt will be jointly launched in October 2011. Yinghuo-1 orbiter will principally aim to detect Martian space magnetosphere, ionosphere, plasma distribution, ions escape mechanism, surface topography and sandstorms, and gravity field near equator by four pivotal payloads including fluxgate magnetometer, plasma package, occultation receiver and optical imager based on four key technologies including deep-space monitoring and communications, automation, thermal control and degaussing. Yinghuo-1 Mars Exploration Program is a new milestone that will take the country one big step further in the Chinese deep-space exploration perspective plan. China will hopefully become the fourth country to successfully develop Mars exploration mission after the U.S., Russia and Europe.