Thu, December 29, 2011
Technology > Science

Full Text: China's Space Activities in 2011

2011-12-29 05:48:37 GMT2011-12-29 13:48:37(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

BEIJING, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- The Information Office of the State Council on Thursday published a white paper on China's space activities in 2011.

Following is the full text:

China's Space Activities in 2011

Information Office of the State Council

The People's Republic of China

December 2011, Beijing



I. Purposes and Principles of Development

II. Progress Made Since 2006

III. Major Tasks for the Next Five Years

IV. Development Policies and Measures

V. International Exchanges and Cooperation


Outer space is the common wealth of mankind. Exploration, development and utilization of outer space are an unremitting pursuit of mankind. Space activities around the world have been flourishing. Leading space-faring countries have formulated or modified their development strategies, plans and goals in this sphere. The position and role of space activities are becoming increasingly salient for each active country's overall development strategy, and their influence on human civilization and social progress is increasing.

The Chinese government makes the space industry an important part of the nation's overall development strategy, and adheres to exploration and utilization of outer space for peaceful purposes. Over the past few years, China's space industry has developed rapidly and China ranks among the world's leading countries in certain major areas of space technology. Space activities play an increasingly important role in China's economic and social development.

The next five years will be a crucial period for China in building a moderately prosperous society, deepening reform and opening-up, and accelerating the transformation of the country's pattern of economic development. This will bring new opportunities to China's space industry. China will center its work on its national strategic goals, strengthen its independent innovative capabilities, further open to the outside world and expand international cooperation. In so doing, China will do its best to make the country's space industry develop better and faster. At the same time, China will work together with the international community to maintain a peaceful and clean outer space and endeavor to make new contributions to the lofty cause of promoting world peace and development.

In order to help people around the world gain a better understanding of the Chinese space industry, we herewith offer a brief introduction to the major achievements China has made since 2006, its main tasks in the next five years, and its international exchanges and cooperation in this respect.

I. Purposes and Principles of Development

The purposes of China's space industry are: to explore outer space and to enhance understanding of the Earth and the cosmos; to utilize outer space for peaceful purposes, promote human civilization and social progress, and to benefit the whole of mankind; to meet the demands of economic development, scientific and technological development, national security and social progress; and to improve the scientific and cultural knowledge of the Chinese people, protect China's national rights and interests, and build up its national comprehensive strength.

China's space industry is subject to and serves the national overall development strategy, and adheres to the principles of scientific, independent, peaceful, innovative, and open development.

-- Scientific development. China respects science and the laws of nature. Keeping the actual situation of its space industry in mind, it works out comprehensive plans and arrangement of its activities regarding space technology, space applications and space science, in order to maintain comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable development of the industry.

-- Independent development. Keeping to the path of independence and self-reliance, China relies primarily on its own capabilities to develop its space industry to meet the needs of modernization, based upon its actual conditions and strength.

-- Peaceful development. China always adheres to the use of outer space for peaceful purposes, and opposes weaponization or any arms race in outer space. The country develops and utilizes space resources in a prudent manner and takes effective measures to protect the space environment, ensuring that its space activities benefit the whole of mankind.

-- Innovative development. China's strategy for the development of its space industry is to enhance its capabilities of independent innovation, consolidate its industrial foundation, and improve its innovation system. By implementing important space science and technology projects, the country concentrates its strength on making key breakthroughs for leap-frog development in this field.

-- Open development. China persists in combining independence and self-reliance with opening to the outside world and international cooperation. It makes active endeavors in international space exchanges and cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, peaceful utilization and common development, striving to promote progress in mankind's space industry.

III. Major Tasks for the Next Five Years

In the next five years, China will strengthen its basic capacities of the space industry, accelerate research on leading-edge technology, and continue to implement important space scientific and technological projects, including human spaceflight, lunar exploration, high-resolution Earth observation system, satellite navigation and positioning system, new-generation launch vehicles, and other priority projects in key fields. China will develop a comprehensive plan for construction of space infrastructure, promote its satellites and satellite applications industry, further conduct space science research, and push forward the comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable development of China's space industry.

1. Space Transportation System

China will build a stronger space transportation system, keep improving its launch vehicle series, and enhance their capabilities of entering space.

It will enhance the reliability and adaptability of launch vehicles in service, and develop new-generation launch vehicles and their upper stages, implement the first flight of the Long March-5, Long March-6 and Long March-7 launch vehicles. The Long March-5 will use non-toxic and pollution-free propellant, and will be capable of placing 25 tons of payload into the near-Earth orbit, or placing 14 tons of payload into the GEO orbit. The Long March-6 will be a new type of high-speed response launch vehicle, which will be capable of placing not less than 1 ton of payload into a sun-synchronous orbit at a height of 700 km. The Long March-7 will be capable of placing 5.5 tons of payload into a sun-synchronous orbit at a height of 700 km.

It will conduct special demonstrations and pre-research on key technologies for heavy-lift launch vehicles.

2. Man-made Earth Satellites

China will build a space infrastructure frame composed of Earth observation satellites, communications and broadcasting satellites, plus navigation and positioning satellites, and will develop a preliminary long-term, sustained and stable service capability. China will develop new types of scientific satellites and technological test satellites.

1) Earth observation satellites

China will improve its present meteorological, oceanic, and resource satellite series and its small satellites constellation for environmental and disaster monitoring and forecasting. It aims at developing and launching new-generation GEO meteorological satellites, stereo mapping satellites, radar satellites for environment and disaster monitoring, electromagnetic monitoring test satellites, and other new-type Earth observation satellites. It will work to make breakthroughs in key technologies for interferometric synthetic-aperture radar and gravitational field measurement satellites. It will initiate a high-resolution Earth observation system as an important scientific and technological project and establish on the whole a stable all-weather, 24-hour, multi-spectral, various-resolution Earth observation system.

2) Communications and broadcasting satellites

China will improve satellites for fixed communications services, television and radio service satellites and data relay satellites; develop satellites for mobile communication service; and develop a platform of higher capacity and higher power for new-generation GEO communications and broadcasting satellites.

3) Navigation and positioning satellites

Based on "three-step" development plan - from experimental system to regional system and then to global system, China will continue building its Beidou satellite navigation system, implementing a regional Beidou satellite navigation system before 2012, whose navigation and positioning, timing and short-message services will cover the Asia-Pacific region. China aims at completing the global Beidou satellite navigation system by 2020, comprising five GEO satellites and 30 non-GEO satellites.

4) Scientific satellites and technological test satellites

China will develop and launch a Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope satellite, Shijian-9 new technology test satellite, and returnable satellites. It will begin to implement projects of quantum science test satellite and dark matter probing satellite.

3. Human Spaceflight

China will push forward human spaceflight projects and make new technological breakthroughs, creating a foundation for future human spaceflight.

It will launch the Shenzhou-9 and Shenzhou-10 spaceships and achieve unmanned or manned rendezvous and docking with the in-orbit Tiangong-1 vehicle.

China will launch space laboratories, manned spaceship and space freighters; make breakthroughs in and master space station key technologies, including astronauts' medium-term stay, regenerative life support and propellant refueling; conduct space applications to a certain extent and make technological preparations for the construction of space stations.

China will conduct studies on the preliminary plan for a human lunar landing.

4. Deep-space Exploration

China carries out deep-space exploration in stages, with limited goals.

Based on the idea of "three steps" -- orbiting, landing and returning -- for continuing lunar probe projects, China will launch orbiters for lunar soft landing, roving and surveying to implement the second stage of lunar exploration. In the third stage, China will start to conduct sampling the moon's surface matters and get those samples back to Earth.

China will conduct special project demonstration in deep-space exploration, and push forward its exploration of planets, asteroids and the sun of the solar system.

5. Space Launch Sites

China will enhance the reliability and automation level of launch site facilities and equipment, strengthen the comprehensive capability of launch of spacecraft, and satisfy the launch demands. It will also complete the construction of the Hainan space launch site and put it into service.

6. Space TT&C

China will improve its space TT&C network, build deep-space TT&C stations, develop advanced TT&C technologies, and enhance its TT&C capabilities in all respects to satisfy the demands for remote TT&C.

7. Space Applications

China will further improve its satellite application and service system, expand satellites application scope, and promote the national new strategic industries, to meet demands of national economic and social development.

1) Applications of Earth observation satellites

China will improve its ground facilities for receiving, processing, distributing and applying satellite data, and will strengthen the development of calibration fields and other facilities. It will improve the sharing and comprehensive application of data retrieved from Earth observation satellites, make more self-obtained space data, and guide social resources to actively develop market-oriented data application services. It will implement application demonstration projects, and promote the wide utilization and industrialization of Earth observation satellites.

2) Applications of communications and broadcasting satellites

China will strengthen the applications of communications and broadcasting satellites in public service and major industries of the national economy. It plans to expand value-added business in the satellite communication field, further commercialize satellite communication, and expand the industrial scale of the application of communications and broadcasting satellites.

3) Applications of navigation and positioning satellites

China will build and improve ground TT&C segments and develop a system for monitoring and assessing performance of the global satellite navigation system, strengthen technological research, product development and standardization system of navigation and positioning satellites, enhance application level, promote position-based services, expand the industrial scope, and focus on promoting further use of the Beidou satellite navigation system in various fields of China's national economy.

8. Space Science

China will strengthen the development of its space science research system, upgrade the quality of space science research, and enhance popularization of space science knowledge in the whole nation.

By the implementation of lunar exploration projects, China will make in-situ analyses, morphological and structural surveys of the lunar surface in landing and roving areas, conduct environmental surveys of the lunar surface and make moon-based astronomical observations.

By using spacecraft, China will study the properties of black holes and physical laws under extreme conditions, explore properties of dark matter particles, and test basic theories of quantum mechanics. It will also conduct scientific experiments on microgravity and space life science, explore and forecast the space environment and study their effects.

9. Space Debris

China will continue to strengthen its work on space debris monitoring and mitigation and its work on spacecraft protection.

China will develop technologies for monitoring space debris and pre-warning of collision, and begin monitoring space debris and small near-Earth celestial bodies and collision pre-warning work. It will set up a design and assess system of space debris mitigation, and take measures to reduce space debris left by post-task spacecraft and launch vehicles. It will experiment with digital simulation of space debris collisions, and build a system to protect spacecraft from space debris.

IV. Development Policies and Measures

To ensure completion of the set goals and tasks, the Chinese government has formulated policies and measures to be taken for the development of China's space industry as follows:

-- Making comprehensive plans for and prudently arrange space activities. To give priority to applied satellites and satellite applications, develop human spaceflight and deep-space exploration properly, and give active support to space science exploration.

-- Strengthening innovation capability in space science and technology. To focus on implementing important space science and technological projects and to realize leapfrog development in space science and technology by way of making new breakthroughs in core technologies and resource integration. To actively build a space technology innovative system featuring integration of the space industry, academia and the research community, with space science and technology enterprises and research institutions as the main participants; to strengthen basic research in the space field and develop multiple advanced frontier technologies to increase sustainable innovative capacity in space science and technology.

-- Vigorously promoting development of the satellite application industry. To make comprehensive plans and construct space infrastructure; promote public sharing of satellite application resources; foster enterprise clusters, industrial chains and market for satellite applications.

-- Strengthening basic capability in space science, technology and industry. To strengthen construction of infrastructure for development, production and test for spacecraft and launch vehicles. To strengthen construction of key laboratories and engineering research centers for space science and technology. And to strengthen work on informatization, intellectual property rights and standardization of space activities.

-- Strengthening legislative work. To actively carry out research on a national space law, gradually formulate and improve related laws, regulations and space industrial policies guiding and regulating space activities, and create a legislative environment favorable to the development of space activities.

-- Guaranteeing the sustainable and steady financial investment for space activities. To gradually establish a diverse, multi-channel space funding system to ensure the investment sustainable and steady, especially to provide larger amounts for important space scientific and technological projects, applied satellite and satellite applications, frontier technologies and basic researches.

-- Encouraging organizations and people in all walks of life to participate in space-related activities. To encourage scientific research institutes, enterprises, institutions of higher learning and social organizations, under the guidance of national space policies, giving full play to their advantages and taking an active part in space activities.

-- Strengthening training of professionals for the space industry. To vigorously develop a favorable environment for the development of professional personnel, fostering leading figures in the space industry and forming a well-structured contingent of highly qualified personnel in the course of conducting the important projects and basic researches. To publicize space knowledge and culture, and attract more outstanding personnel into the space industry.

V. International Exchanges and Cooperation

The Chinese government holds that each and every country in the world enjoys equal rights to freely explore, develop and utilize outer space and its celestial bodies, and that all countries' outer space activities should be beneficial to economic development, the social progress of nations, and to the security, survival and development of mankind.

International space cooperation should adhere to the fundamental principles stated in the "Declaration on International Cooperation in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space for the Benefit and in the Interest of All States, Taking into Particular Account the Needs of Developing Countries." China maintains that international exchanges and cooperation should be strengthened to promote inclusive space development on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, peaceful utilization and common development.

1. Fundamental Policies

The Chinese government has adopted the following fundamental policies with regard to developing international space exchanges and cooperation:

-- Supporting activities regarding the peaceful use of outer space within the framework of the United Nations. Supporting all inter-governmental and non-governmental space organizations' activities that promote development of the space industry;

-- Emphasizing regional space cooperation in the Asia-Pacific area, and supporting other regional space cooperation around the world;

-- Reinforcing space cooperation with developing countries, and valuing space cooperation with developed countries;

-- Encouraging and endorsing the efforts of domestic scientific research institutes, industrial enterprises, institutions of higher learning, and social organizations to develop international space exchanges and cooperation in diverse forms and at various levels under the guidance of relevant state policies, laws and regulations;

-- Appropriately using both domestic and foreign markets and both types of resources, and actively participating in practical international space cooperation.

2. Major Events

Since 2006, China has implemented international space exchanges and cooperation in various forms. It has signed a number of cooperation agreements and memoranda on the peaceful utilization of outer space with a host of countries, space agencies and international organizations. China has taken part in relevant activities sponsored by the United Nations and other relevant international organizations and supported international space commercial cooperation. These measures have yielded positive results.

Bilateral cooperation

-- China has established a long-term cooperation plan with Russia through the mechanism of the Space Cooperation Sub-committee under the Prime Ministers' Meeting between Russia and China. The two nations have signed a number of cooperation agreements on space science, deep-space exploration and other areas, and their national space administrations have opened representative offices mutually. In the field of human spaceflight, the two nations have also carried out many cooperation projects.

-- China has undertaken extensive cooperation with Ukraine under the Space Cooperation Sub-committee mechanism of the Sino-Ukrainian Cooperation Commission, and the two sides have signed the "Sino-Ukrainian Space Cooperation Program."

-- China and the European Space Agency (ESA) have signed the "Status Quo of China-Europe Space Cooperation and the Cooperation Plan Protocol" under the mechanism of the China-Europe Joint Commission on Space Cooperation. The two sides cooperated closely during the lunar exploration missions of Chang'e-1 and Chang'e-2, and signed the "Agreement on Mutual Support for the TT&C Network and Operation" in September 2011.

-- China and Brazil, through the mechanism of the Space Cooperation Sub-committee of the Sino-Brazilian High-level Coordination Commission, have worked out a comprehensive bilateral space cooperation plan, actively promoted the research and development of the China-Brazil Earth resources satellites, continued to maintain data consistency of their Earth resources satellites and expanded the application of their data into regional and global application.

-- China has signed a cooperation framework agreement on space and marine science and technology with France under the mechanism of the Sino-French Joint Commission on Space Cooperation, aiming at developing bilateral cooperation on astronomic satellite, ocean satellite and other satellite programs.

-- China and Britain have established a joint laboratory on space science and technology, jointly organized a seminar on space science and technology, and conducted exchanges on lunar exploration, Earth observation, space science research and experiment, personnel training and other areas.

-- China has signed a framework agreement with Germany on bilateral cooperation in the field of human spaceflight. Under the framework, the two countries have carried out a cooperative experiment project on the Shenzhou-8 concerning space life science.

-- The director of the U.S. National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) visited China and the two sides will continue to make dialogue regarding the space field.

-- China has signed a memorandum of understanding on technological cooperation in the peaceful utilization and development of outer space with Venezuela, and the two nations have established a technology, industry and space sub-committee under the China-Venezuela Senior Mixed Committee. Under this framework, the two nations have promoted bilateral cooperation in communications satellites, remote-sensing satellites, satellite applications and other areas.

-- China has signed the "Cooperation Agreement on the Application, Exchange and Distribution of Meteorological Satellite Data" with the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), to promote the sharing in and application of meteorological satellite data.

-- China has actively promoted the extensive applications of Earth observation satellite data with various countries. China has given to many countries free receiving stations for meteorological satellite broadcasting systems and comprehensive systems for meteorological information analysis and processing. With China's help, a data receiving station of the Sino-Brazilian Earth Resources Satellite Program was established in South Africa, and another station for receiving environmental and disaster data from Chinese satellites was set up in Thailand. China has provided related earth observation satellite data products to the above-mentioned countries.

-- China has implemented international exchanges and cooperation with a number of countries in frequency coordination, compatibility and interoperability, applications and other international exchanges and cooperation in the area of satellite navigation systems.


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