The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) is the main contractor for the Chinese space program. It is state-owned and has a number of subordinate entities which design, develop and manufacture a range of spacecraft, launch vehicles, strategic and tactical missile systems, and ground equipment. It was officially established in July 1999 as part of a Chinese government reform drive, having previously been one part of the former China Aerospace Corporation. Various incarnations of the program date back to 1956.
Gaofen is a series of civilian Earth observation satellites developed and launched for the China High-definition Earth Observation System (CHEOS), a state-sponsored programme aimed to develop a near-real time, all-weather, global surveillance network consisting of satellite, near-space (stratosphere) airships, and aerial observation platforms.