CFOSAT satellite - credits CNES/ill.Oliver SATTLER, 2011.
CFOSAT satellite - credits CNES/ill.Oliver SATTLER, 2011
CNES - CNSA collaboration
a wave-scatterometer spectrometer SWIM,
a scatterometer SCAT
Observations of wind at the ocean surface and spectral properties of surface waves.
Sun synchronous polar orbit at 500 km altitude
Mission lifetime 3 years

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The project main steps


The Chinese (CNSA) and French (CNES) Space Agencies propose to carry out jointly a satellite mission devoted to the monitoring of the ocean surface wind and wave, and related ocean and atmospheric science and applications. This is the so-called CFOSAT project (Chinese-French Oceanic SATellite).

The primary objective of CFOSAT is to monitor at the global scale the wind and waves at the ocean surface in order to improve:

  • The wind and wave forecast for marine meteorology (including severe events),
  • the ocean dynamics modeling and prediction,
  • our knowledge of climate variability,
  • fundamental knowledge on surface processes linked to wind and waves.

For that purpose, CFOSAT will implement on satellite two main instruments: a wave-scatterometer spectrometer (SWIM: Surface Waves Investigation and Monitoring) supplied by CNES, and a scatterometer (SCAT) supplied by CNSA to measure ocean winds. Both are microwave active instruments (radars).

The second objective of CFOSAT is to improve the knowledge and modeling of sea-surface processes: sea-state evolution, role of waves in the atmosphere and ocean, sea-ice properties and evolution in marginal ice zones, coastal processes, and determination of ocean surface parameters by remote sensing.

As an opportunity, CFOSAT will also be used to complement other satellite missions for the estimation of land surface parameters (in particular soil moisture and soil roughness), and polar ice sheet characteristics.

Latest update 05/03/2013
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February 1, 2013
Telemetry sub-system Critical Design Review
January 8, 2013
SWIM Critical Design Review
April 26, 2012
First test flight of KuROS, Toulouse Francazal
April 4, 2012
French Scientific Mission Group Meeting in Paris
January 13, 2012
CFOSAT Join Steering Committee yearly meeting
January 11, 2012
Telemetry sub-system C/D phase kick off
November 14-16, 2011
IFREMER scientific Workshop in Brest
June 23, 2011
Telemetry sub-system Preliminary Design Review
April 21, 2011
CFOSAT to gain new insights into sea state
April 14-15, 2011
French Scientific Mission Group Meeting in Paris
December 9, 2010
CNES Administration Council: decision to pass in phase C/D at CNES.
November 16-17, 2010
Join Steering Committee CFOSAT in Beijing: authorization to pass in phase C/D.