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Sub-anchor: Major breakthroughs over the past 5 years in space activities


12-28-2016 05:09 BJT

Well for more on the newly-issued white paper on China's space activities, let me bring in my colleague Jiang Shaoyi.

Q1. Shaoyi, many say 2016 was a crucial and revealing year for the country’s space ambitions. Tell us more about the white paper. What have been China's major breakthroughs over the past few years?

A1. Well, there have indeed been a lot of breakthroughs and huge progress. Here are some take-aways from the document. Over the past 5 years, a total of over 80 space missions have been completed, with over 100 spacecraft sent into orbit by China's Long March carrier rocket family. And among these, the successful launch of the Long March 5 this year, became a symbol of the upgrade of China's carrier rockets. The rocket is currently the country's newest generation in the Long March series, with the largest carrying capacity so far. As for manned space missions, in 2012 and 2013, the Shenzhou-9 and Shenzhou-10 spacecraft successfully docked with the Tiangong-1 space lab, which marked significant moments in the development of China's manned space transportation system, as well as space docking technology. And...in the field of lunar exploration, while the Chang'e-3 achieved China's first soft landing on the surface of the moon at the end of 2013, China has fully mastered the key technology of a spacecraft's re-entry and return flight at a speed close to second cosmic velocity the next year. In addition, during the period, the Beidou-2 Navigation Satellite System was completed, with the networking of 14 satellites now, offering services, such as positioning and timing, to customers around the Asia-Pacific region.

Q2. And Shaoyi, international cooperation was also highlighted in the document, especially when planning for the future of China's space activities. What are China's expectations for that?

A2. ... Nowadays more and more countries are attaching importance to space cooperation. China is of course one of them. Actually over the past five years, China already signed 43 space cooperation agreements or memorandums of understanding with nearly 30 countries, space agencies and international organizations. For example, China and Russia...and China and the European Space Agency signed bilateral cooperation outlines, in a bid to boost cooperation in sectors such as deep space exploration and earth observation. And China has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations, which promotes the sharing of data from China's earth observation satellite on the UN platform. The white paper also said, in the next five years China will expand international cooperation in areas such as satellite-related projects. For example the construction of a satellite application system, and a remote-sensing satellite constellation co-sponsored and promoted by the BRICS countries....And more cooperation will also likely be seen on lunar, Mars and other deep space exploration programs....as well as in the construction of a space lab and a space station. So there's surely a lot for us to look forward to...

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