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China makes rapid progress, breakthroughs in space industry — white paper

BEIJING, Dec. 29 — A white paper published on Thursday said that China has made innovative achievements and breakthroughs in major space projects, and space technology has been upgraded remarkably.

The white paper, China's Space Activities in 2011, published by the State Council's Information Office, said that the country's Long March rockets have accomplished 67 successful launches, sending 79 spacecraft into planned orbits since 2006.

The Long March rocket series have been improved, and major progress has been made in the development of new-generation launch vehicles, the white paper said.

So far, 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, and the first Haiyang dynamics environmental satellite launched in August, 2011 is capable of all-weather and full-time microwave observation, it said.

China has won successes in its high-capacity geostationary Earth orbit (GEO) satellite communications 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 paper said 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, it said.

After successfully launching the Shenzhou-7 manned spaceship in 2008, China became the third country in the world to master the key technology of astronaut space extravehicular activity, the white paper said.

In September and November 2011, China successively launched the Tiangong-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, it said.

In deep-space exploration, China successfully launched its first lunar probe, Chang'e-1, in 2007, retrieving a great deal of scientific data and a complete map of the moon, and successfully implementing a controlled crash onto the lunar surface.

The paper said the success of Chang'e-1 was another milestone for China's space industry, after man-made satellites and human spaceflight, signifying that China has become one of the countries capable of deep-space exploration.

China successfully launched its second lunar probe, Chang'e-2, in October 2010, and created a full higher-resolution map of the moon, and a high-definition image of Sinus Iridium, and completed several extended tests, including circling the Lagrangian Point L2, which laid the foundation for future deep-space exploration tasks, it said.

The white paper said China has improved its three existing launch sites in Jiuquan, Xichang and Taiyuan, enhancing their comprehensive test capabilities and high-intensity launching capabilities. China is building a new space launch site in Hainan to accommodate the launch of new-generation launch vehicles.

China has improved its TT&C ground stations and ships, and has established a very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) network comprising four observation stations and a data processing center, indicating that China has acquired space-based TT&C capabilities.

At present, China's TT&C network is expanding from the ground to space, and from geospace TT&C to deep-space TT&C. The network is able to not only satisfy satellite TT&C demands, but also support human spaceflight and deep-space exploration, it said.

The white paper revealed that using the Shijian satellites and Shenzhou spaceship, China has carried out space experiments in life science, materials science, fluid mechanics and other fields under conditions of microgravity and strong radiation. It has also conducted experiments on crop breeding in space.

China has monitored space debris, and given early warnings against them, ensuring safe flight of Chang'e-1 and Chang'e-2 lunar probes, and Shenzhou-7 manned spaceship.

China has steadily pushed forward its work on space debris mitigation, fully inactivating Long March rockets, and moving a few aging GEO satellites out of orbit, the white paper said. (PNA/Xinhua)

DCT/ebp

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