China’s Satellites for Gravitational Wave Detection

China has launched its two satellites that detects the gravitational waves into the planned orbit on December 9, 2020.


  • The satellites were launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province of China.
  • These satellites are part of the Gravitational Wave High-energy Electromagnetic Counterpart All-sky Monitor (GECAM) mission.
  • They were launched from a Long March-11 carrier rocket.
  • This was the 355th mission of the Long March rocket series.
  • The GECAM project is being carried by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
  • The Long March-11 rocket has been developed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.

Uses of GECAM satellites

These two GECAM satellites will be used to

  1. Monitor the high-energy celestial phenomena including the gravitational wave gamma-ray bursts, special gamma-ray bursts, magnetar bursts and high-energy radiation of fast radio bursts.
  2. Study neutron stars, black holes, other compact objects and the merger processes of these objects.
  3. Detect the high-energy radiation phenomena in space including the solar flares, Earth gamma flashes and Earth electron beams.
  4. It will also provide observation data for scientists.

Gravitational wave high-energy Electromagnetic Counterpart All-sky Monitor (GECAM)

GCAM is a project of the focus laboratory for astroparticle physics. It has been started by the Institute for High Energy Physics and the National Center for Space Science of the Chinese Academy of Science. The project will investigate the sources of gravitational waves with the help of  two small satellites. Each of the satellite weights 163 kg. These satellites will orbit around the earth at opposite points in an identical orbit.

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