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China's Space Activities in 2011
2011-12-29 21:34

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.

II. Progress Made Since 2006

Since 2006, China has made rapid progress in its space industry. Breakthroughs have been made in major space projects, including human spaceflight and lunar exploration; space technology has been generally upgraded remarkably; the economic and social benefits of space applications have been noticeably enhanced; and innovative achievements have been made in space science.

1. Space Transportation System

Since 2006, Long March rockets have accomplished 67 successful launches, sending 79 spacecraft into planned orbits and demonstrating noteworthy improvement in the reliability of China's launch vehicles. The Long March rocket series have been improved, and major progress has been made in the development of new-generation launch vehicles.

2. Man-made Earth Satellites

1) Earth observation satellites

China has developed Fengyun (Wind and Cloud), Haiyang (Ocean), Ziyuan (Resources), Yaogan (Remote-Sensing) and Tianhui (Space Mapping) satellite series, plus a constellation of small satellites for environmental and disaster monitoring and forecasting. Fengyun satellites are now capable of global, three-dimensional and multispectral quantitative observation. The Fengyun-2 geostationary Earth orbit (GEO) meteorological satellite succeeded in double satellite observation and in-orbit backup; while the Fengyun-3 polar orbit meteorological satellite succeeded in networking observation of morning and afternoon satellites. Ocean water color satellites have obtained their images of doubled width and their revisiting period reduced. The first Haiyang dynamics environmental satellite launched in August, 2011 is capable of all-weather and full-time microwave observation. The Ziyuan satellite series have seen their spatial resolution and image quality greatly enhanced. The small satellites for environmental and disaster monitoring and forecasting are now capable of disaster monitoring with medium-resolution, wide-coverage and high-revisit rate disaster monitoring. In 2010, China formally initiated the development of an important special project - a high-resolution Earth observation system.

2) Communications and broadcasting satellites

China has won successes in its high-capacity GEO satellite common platform, space-based data relays, tracking, telemetry and command (TT&C), and other key technologies, showing remarkable improvement in the technical performance of China's satellites and in voice, data, radio and television communications. The successful launch and stable operation of the Zhongxing-10 satellite demonstrated a significant increase in the power and capacity of China's communications and broadcasting satellites. Similarly, the successful launch of the Tianlian (Space Chain)-1 data relay satellite demonstrated China's preliminary capability of both space-based data relays and space-based TT&C.

3) Navigation and positioning satellites

In February 2007, China successfully launched the fourth Beidou (Bid Dipper) navigation experiment satellite, further enhancing the performance of the Beidou navigation experiment system. China has comprehensively launched the building of a Beidou regional navigation system, consisting of five GEO satellites, five inclined geosynchronous orbit (IGSO) satellites and four medium-Earth-orbit (MEO) satellites. Since April 2007, China has launched 10 such satellites and has been able to provide trial services for Asia-Pacific users.

4) Scientific satellites and technological test satellites

China has developed and launched several Shijian (Practice) satellites and small and micro satellites, providing supporting platforms for space environment exploration, space scientific test and new technology demonstration.

3. Human Spaceflight

From September 25 to 28, 2008, China successfully launched the Shenzhou-7 (Divine Ship-7) manned spaceship. China also became the third country in the world to master the key technology of astronaut space extravehicular activity, completing a space material test outside the spaceship and an experiment on deploying and accompanying flight of a small satellite. In September and November 2011, China successively launched the Tiangong-1 (Space Palace-1) and Shenzhou-8 spaceship, and accomplished their first space rendezvous and docking test, laying the foundation for the construction of future space laboratories and space stations.

4. Deep-space Exploration

On October 24, 2007, China successfully launched its first lunar probe, Chang'e-1, and achieved its objectives of "accurate orbital transfer and successful orbiting," also retrieving a great deal of scientific data and a complete map of the moon, and successfully