On 15th November 2017, 2:35 AM local time, China’s first commercial maritime satellite “HEAD-1” was launched from the Tauyuan Satellite Launch Centre on a Long March 4C as a piggy back to the FM-3D mission.

All launch and orbit insertion stages were executed nominally and the satellite was smoothly inserted into its 800 km polar orbit.  Initial in-orbit verification of the platform and payload have already started.

HEAD-1 is a 150kg micro satellite that was jointly developed by the Shanghai Aerospace Technology Research Institute and China HEAD Aerospace Technology Co. Ltd. It is the first commercial Chinese satellite for maritime services. The satellite was designed as a modular, highly integrated platform making use of platform virtualization and other innovative techniques to create compact, high performance and quickly integrated small satellite solutions.

The main payload is a 4th generation AIS (Automatic Identification of Ships) receiver making use of advanced signal processing techniques to deliver a high detection rate over high- and medium-density shipping areas.

Initial operations of the satellite and payload will be performed through a ground station in Shanghai which provides both TT&C and Data downlink services.

HEAD Aerospace Technology Co. Ltd has established its own data centre in Beijing for the processing of the satellite AIS data and to provide a range of positioning and analytical services through a dedicated on-line portal.  Products and services are based on a mix of terrestrial and space-based data sources allowing the company to start its commercial services swiftly.

“HEAD-1” is the first commercial maritime satellite to fill a gap in the Chinese domestic AIS market. It helps in further developing China’s national maritime security as well as economic and social activities in the “One belt, One road” initiative.  

HEAD Aerospace Technology Co. Ltd. Is committed to the development of small satellite, commercial space services, with the vision to “let space into your life”. The HEAD-1 is a first step in the development of the "Skywalker constellation", a multi-functional micro-satellite constellation to provide (amongst others) maritime, communication and Earth Observation services. Initial application domains include maritime surveillance, forestry, infrastructure monitoring and environmental protection.

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