A real-size model of China’s smallest satellite, “ZDPS-1A”, was put on display for the first time Friday at an expo in Hangzhou, capital of east China’s Zhejiang Province.
China sent two such satellites into space on Sept. 22, 2010.
It was the first time that the country has successfully launched a wholly self-developed pico-satellite, which referred to small satellites weighing only kilograms.
SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) ZHOU LIYANG, Research Center of Micro-satellite of Zhejiang University:
“Every single part on the satellite was developed by ourselves. We used revolutionary technology in making the responder of the satellite. Usually a responder weighs over 20 kilograms. But the responder the ZDPS-1A equipped with only weighs about 100 grams.”
Weighing just 3.5 kilograms, the “ZDPS-1A” has a cube shape with a side length of 15 centimeters and requires a working power source of only 3.5 watts.
Now the two pico-satellites are traveling around the earth once every 96 minutes.
Compared with a large satellite which often takes at least 149 million U.S. dollars to build, a pico-satellite only costs hundreds of thousands dollars.
Similarly, a large satellite needs no less than 30 to 40 days to blast off after it is sent to the launch center, while the period can be reduced to several days for a pico-satellite.
Due to such advantages, the pico-satellites are expected to play an important role in natural disaster-reduction, such as providing emergency communications and surveying the disaster-stricken areas.