China's Space Program News Thread


Lieutenant General
Shoot for the moon and than Mars!:D

Report: China developing advanced lunar mission spaceship

China is developing an advanced new spaceship capable of both flying in low-Earth orbit and landing on the moon, according to state media, in another bold step for a space program that equaled the U.S. in number of rocket launches last year.

The newspaper Science and Technology Daily cited spaceship engineer Zhang Bainian as saying the new craft would be recoverable and have room for multiple astronauts. While no other details were given in the Tuesday report, Zhang raised as a comparison the
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being developed by
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and the European Space Agency. The agency hopes Orion will carry astronauts into space by 2023.

China's Shenzhou space capsule used on all six of its crewed missions is based on Russia's Soyuz and is capable of carrying three astronauts in its re-entry module.

China came late to crewed space flight, launching its first man into space in 2003, but has advanced rapidly since then. In its most recent crewed mission, two astronauts spent a month aboard a Chinese
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late last year.

A fully functioning, permanently crewed space station is on course to begin operations in around five years and a manned lunar mission has been suggested for the future.

Now firmly established among the big three in space travel, China last year moved ahead of Russia for the first time in number of rocket launches and equaled the United States at 22, according to Harvard University astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell. Russia had 17 launches, while the U.S. might have had several more if Space X's Falcon 9 rocket fleet hadn't been grounded following a Sept. 1 launchpad explosion.
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Asia times article about china´s weapons in space.

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What do you think of it? do you think that china would use the lives of its astronauts to conceal a weaponized role for the chinese space station?


Junior Member
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Asia times article about china´s weapons in space.

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What do you think of it? do you think that china would use the lives of its astronauts to conceal a weaponized role for the chinese space station?
LOL really? I don't think there's enough energy going around in the space station left after life support, thruster repositioning, etc. to power a microwave, let alone a laser that's powerful enough to do something.

You'll need a solar farm that's the size of the ISS to power this hypothetical laser, and likely the space-laser will be essentially remote-controlled from ground station, in order to save weight and energy.

Iron Man

Registered Member
Asia times article about china´s weapons in space.

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What do you think of it? do you think that china would use the lives of its astronauts to conceal a weaponized role for the chinese space station?
I have no doubt the US would use "the lives of its astronauts" to conceal a space weapon. So would Russia. So also would China. So what? You think NASA and Roscosmos haven't had their astronauts carry out multiple military missions during their long history? Of course they have. It's the fearmongering halfwits like Fisher who point to CNSA's military activities and use it to spread fear and loathing as if it were any more insidious than other national space agencies using their astronauts for military purposes.
Interesting news that Beidou accuracy will be 5x more than GPS

BeiDou navigates its way to global stage
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China's location detection tech seeks to hit big time in Belt & Road regions
A recurring theme in the annual Government Work Report, the latest edition of which Premier Li Keqiang presented to the National People's Congress on March 5,has been promotion of high-end manufacturing and the Belt and Road Initiative, and helping Chinese companies to globalize their equipment and homegrown technologies. The BeiDou Navigation Satellite System is a perfect example of that spirit.
The GPS-like navigation system, a product of the Chinese National Space Administration, and managed by the China Satellite Navigation Office, is to accelerate its expansion into economies along the Belt and Road Initiative as China plans to launch six to eight BeiDou satellites this year. BeiDou has made significant progress in terms of accuracy of location detection.
The go-global strategy is part of China's broad plan to build a BeiDou navigation system with a constellation of 35 satellites by 2020. In comparison, GPS consists of 24 satellites.
"The globalization era for BeiDou is coming," said Miao Qianjun, secretary-general of the Global Navigation Satellite System and Location-based Services Association of China. The GLAC was founded in 1995 to promote the commercial application of BeiDou technologies.
"China is supporting BeiDou's exports roughly the same way it supports exports of high-speed railway products and technologies. BeiDou will become another high-tech name card for China," Miao said.
In February, the GLAC invited its enterprise members involved in BeiDou-related industries for discussions. With help from the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner, it set up an alliance for enterprises that seek to take BeiDou products and solutions to markets along the Belt and Road Initiative.
"We've received affirmative responses from 27 enterprises within a week. They are all eager to be part of our efforts," Miao said, adding the alliance members will receive financial support from the government.
Policy support for navigation technologies was first articulated in a guidance released by the NDRC in November 2016. It called for more help for enterprises to enable them to apply BeiDou technologies in Thailand, Laos, Indonesia and other ASEAN countries.
"The close economic ties between China and ASEAN will pave the way for BeiDou's entry. More importantly, in Southeast Asian countries located in low latitudes, BeiDou is more accurate than GPS," said Ming Dexiang, director of the Beidou Open Laboratory, an agency that promotes commercial applications of BeiDou.
Steady improvements to BeiDou's technologies have helped improve the accuracy of its navigation and location-detection systems. China announced earlier this year that BeiDou's satellites can locate ground-based users to an accuracy level of one or two meters of their exact location with the help of a new chip. Prior to this, BeiDou's accuracy level was a radius of 10 meters from the actual spot.
Li Xueli, an engineer working with BeiDou, said: "For users, there are two big improvements. One is the time the system takes to process your journey. This is down from 30 seconds to just three seconds. The second improvement is the position accuracy. The system can now tell if the car is on the main road or side road."
With precision of 1 to 2 meters, BeiDou is just behind the European Union's Galileo satellite system that gives consumers an accuracy level of just 1 meter. GPS' accuracy level is 5 meters while Russia's GLONASS satellite gives an accuracy level of 4.5 meters to 7.4 meters.
Given the potential for wresting lead globally, China is accelerating steps like launching new navigation satellites to expand the coverage area of BeiDou.
Yang Yuanxi, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a member of the CPPCC National Committee, said: "China will launch six to eight satellites this year. After constructing a network of 18 satellites by around 2018, we will serve economies along the Belt and Road Initiative."
That will mark a long way from the first BeiDou satellite's launch 16 years ago. At that time, it was designed to serve the military. It was not available for commercial applications until 2012.
But within just four years of development, the commercial model has been widely applied in smartphones and automobiles in China to help consumers navigate through crowded traffic.
As of August 2016, about 759 smartphone models supported BeiDou's navigation services, accounting for 21 percent of all smartphones, reflecting the enormous potential of China's navigation satellite market.
In 2015, BeiDou was used to help Singapore in tracking vehicles. GLAC's Miao was instrumental in clinching this deal for BeiDou. A joint venture was set up to run the project. Singapore's Economic Development Board, a government agency for planning and executing strategies, poured 50 million yuan into it.
Sun Jiadong, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and former chief designer of the BeiDou system, said: "Domestic trials are checking for possible applications in foreign countries. The globalization boom for BeiDou will come around 2021, but we need to start as soon as possible."
Two areas where boats ride easy
1. China has set up a BeiDou-powered monitoring system to track and help fishing boats in Nansha Islands as they have been involved in frequent mishaps due to ordinary equipment on board.
So far, more than 30,000 boats have been equipped with BeiDou-enabled gadgets that can help fishermen contact others when telecom signals go weak.
The equipment can offer digital messaging services, positioning, navigation notices, emergency help and information on weather and sea waves.
It can also help fishery management departments to locate vessels, manage their navigation and extend help in time.
BeiDou's system has been widely applied in many areas including fishery departments of the government, fishery companies, large fishing boats and individual fishermen in Nansha Islands.
This has greatly reduced maritime accidents, brought IT to the marine fishery segment and professionalized information management in China.
2. China has set up a ship detection and monitoring system on the Lancang-Mekong River in southwestern China, using the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System.
Southwestern China is known for its rapids, dangerous shoals and a large number of telecommunication blind zones.
It has also been facing difficulties like straying foreign ships and international terrorism.
The system also makes use of a GPS satellite and a GSM network, and creates a 3-D monitoring and communication mechanism.
It is integrated with 3-D geographic information system that can provide users with clear images of landscapes, especially rapids.
With simulated maps of the Lancang-Mekong River, the system visualizes land forms around and can guide the ships on safe and optimized routes.

Iron Man

Registered Member
Incidentally, if anyone is interested in the BeiDou/Galileo signal overlap fiasco and whatever became of it, here is an interesting newer perspective written this year (though it provides no real answers):

Brussels View: Remembrance of Things Past
Can China and Europe Get Over a Failed GNSS Partnership?
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In 2003, China committed to investing €200 million (US$270 million) for the privilege of participating in the development of Europe’s Galileo program. But by 2007 it had been forced out of major decision-making because of security concerns and the collapse of the original financing plan for the program, which was to include public and private money.

At the time, bringing China into Galileo was seen by some as simply an anti-American gesture on the part of the Europeans, while others have argued that they truly thought China’s membership in Galileo would help European companies to gain a strengthened commercial position in the Asian nation’s huge and growing market.

In any case, China’s contribution to the program ultimately turned out not to include a policymaking role, and who could then blame officials there for feeling badly used — perhaps even humiliated — after having paid for the privilege of joining the Galileo consortium as a partner only to see themselves shut out of its governing bodies?

Seeking a New Path
This problematical history seemed ripe for review at a recent European Institute for Asian Studies roundtable event in Brussels that brought together representatives of the European Commission (EC), the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Chinese Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CAST) to discuss EU-China relations in space. (CAST is a state-owned company that serves as the main contractor for China’s space program.)

But satellite navigation received only a grudging and oblique treatment at the event.

The “EU-China Galileo fiasco,” as some have gone so far as to refer to it, turned out to be the elephant in the room that no one wanted to see or touch, at least none of the panelists. This despite the fact that the title of the conference itself —“The Ups and Downs of Euro-China Space Cooperation” — might have led some of the attendees to expect a few words on the subject.

However, Hartwig Bischoff, Space Unit policy officer at the EC’s Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry, started the ball rolling in a very different direction. Emphasizing that he was there to discuss EU-China co-operation in research, Bischoff laid out the Commission’s plans to launch a new “space dialog” with China, listing a number of wide ranging potential topics for discussion, including remote sensing, climate change, exploration of the solar system, space weather, space and life sciences, space debris, et cetera, et cetera.

Satellite navigation, however, was not on Bischoff’s list. Later in his presentation he showed another list, this time representing ‘opportunities’ for EU-China cooperation. Once again, GNSS-related matters were notable by their absence.

When asked later about these omissions, Bischoff replied that satellite navigation was not on his lists because he was there to talk about cooperation in research, and Galileo is an operational system, not a research project.

Oka-a-y. Awkward pause and perplexed looks passing among the panelists.

A growing suspicion arose that perhaps no one was at the roundtable to talk about the “downs” mentioned in the conference title. No one, that is, except for the man who got the party together in the first place: David Fouquet, a senior associate at the European Institute for Asian Studies who conceived the event and acted as a sort of moderator. Fouquet said point blank that he wanted to hear more about the lingering effects of the EU-China falling out over Galileo.

After this direct prodding, Gongling Sun, chief representative of CAST’s European office, made an attempt to address the subject. He was brief and, by his comments and “body language,” seemed to want to minimize any sense of hard feelings, or indeed any feelings at all.

“As for our participation in the Galileo project,” he said, shrugging his shoulders, “we were invited, and then we were uninvited. And that’s the way it is. We just keep our heads down, we stay quiet, and we keep on going.”

And keep going they have. By 2009, while Galileo was falling behind schedule, the Chinese had moved forward and were making rapid progress in the development of their own Compass (BeiDou-2) system. What’s more, China had announced its plans to transmit signals on the wavelength that the Europe wants to use for Galileo’s Public Regulated Service (PRS), an encrypted frequency for governmental, immigration, public safety, and potentially military use.

“It’s incredible,” said Jean-Michel Fobe, anticipating the direction of the conversation before the presentations had even started. Fobe is President of Belgium’s Eutralex Aerospace and a man with some experience working with Chinese collaborators.

“The Chinese government sets its priorities and makes the decisions, and that’s all there is to it,” Fobe added. “There is no argument, no negotiation. It’s not like here in Europe where 27 different opinions have to be brought together before we can do anything.”

The price of pan-European democracy? China pays no such price. Today BeiDou, not Galileo, could well become the third fully operational global satellite navigation system, after GPS and GLONASS. Despite years of effort, negotiations to resolve the signal overlap question have made little progress. As recently as last year, EC officials said that the issue represented “a major problem for the security of the EU.”

Invited speaker Brian Weeden, who spent nine years as an officer in the U.S. Air Force and worked at the U.S. Strategic Command’s Joint Space Operations Center, chimed in on the subject.

“China does not recover easily from slights, often reacting in a calculating manner,” he said bluntly, suggesting that the BeiDou/Galileo PRS frequency overlay issue was just another example of China’s grudge-holding, a well thought out and pointed reaction to not getting the value they expected out of the aborted Galileo deal.

ESA’s Not So Eloquent Silence
For his part, ESA representative Karl Bergquist had little to say about the EU-China and Galileo story. Asked what he understood to be the current state of affairs regarding China’s planned overlay on PRS, Bergquist pled ignorance.

“I don’t really know,” he said. “I don’t know what happened with that story. We were all sort of following it a few years ago, but now, no one talks about it any more.”

Perhaps it’s a question better posed to the technicians, he suggested, whom he could not name and of whom he is not one.

Bergquist has worked as an administrator in ESA’s International Relations Department since 1993. He holds a degree in Chinese from the Language Institute of Beijing and is currently in charge of ESA’s relations with China, Russia, and Israel.

All of which makes it a bit surprising that, sent by ESA to address the ups and downs of EU-China cooperation in space, he would have had so little to say — nothing at all, actually —about EU-China cooperation on GNSS.

Perhaps what this really tells us is something about the determination with which ESA would like to leave behind — and get everyone else to leave behind — the entire story of Galileo’s China venture. After all, what is the point of rehashing that old sordid affair? This kind of conference should be about the future, right?

Iron Man

Registered Member
Wider Consequences
In the wake of this less-than-successful GNSS cooperation, when China picked up its stuff and went home, it didn’t just take away the Galileo stuff. The EC’s Bischoff acknowledged that the unfortunate turn of events had resulted in a slump in the EU-China’s relationship across all fronts.

Still, he insisted, the tide has now turned. “There was an effect,” he said, referring to decreased Chinese participation in EU research across the board, “but we feel that we are now coming back and that things are on the up.”

Weeden was frank in his assessment of the European and American positions.

“The Europeans are still trying to figure out who they want to be in space,” he said. “Does Europe want to be a junior partner, contributing what it can and benefiting from its relationships with the big players? Does it want to be a global player in its own right, standing on an equal footing with the US, Russia, and China? Or is it aiming to be a facilitator, bringing parties together who would not otherwise meet?”

Bischoff pointed out that the EU, through its Research Framework Program, does represent a kind of workaround for third parties, already playing the facilitating role described by Weeden.

“We have EU-funded projects with third-country partners,” Bischoff explained, “with the U.S. for example, with Russia and with China. According to their own rules and regulations, our U.S. partners are often not supposed to work with Chinese organizations. And the Chinese may not be allowed to work with the Americans, but they can both work with us.”

And this means, de facto, they are in some cases working together within an EU-based framework. Could this be a way to bring the competing GNSS systems together, on neutral EU soil?

Again Weeden: “Everyone agrees that international cooperation is needed, but the opportunities for the EU are made greater by the fact that the U.S. withholds its own co-operation.”

Does China Really Care?
The rules and regulations to which Bischoff was referring include the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), a set of U.S. government regulations that control the export and import of defense-related articles and services. ITAR essentially locks China out of any exchange of sensitive U.S. information, equipment, and systems, including most anything related to GNSS.

Always controversial, ITAR continues to stimulate heated debate in U.S. halls of power. As
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in last month’s edition of Inside GNSS, a U.S. Satellite Export Policy Report, submitted to Congress last April by the Department of Defense and the Department of State, recommended that restrictions on the export of communications and remote sensing satellites be eased, to improve the competitiveness of U.S. companies. However, the report recommended retaining controls on spacecraft technologies used for positioning, navigation, and timing, including GPS.

Weeden pressed his case against what he considers the failed policies of his own country. “With respect to U.S.-China relations, ITAR is a failure,” he said. “It did not help US industry; it has hurt US industry. The withholding of information and cooperation has not brought China to its knees.”

Sun appeared to agree.

“Look,” he said, “let’s take the airline industry — in China we have no major manufacturer of airplanes. So, we have a choice to make: we can buy Boeing airplanes or we can buy Airbus airplanes. If Boeing doesn’t want to sell us their airplanes, then we have to buy Airbus airplanes. It doesn’t make much difference to us. They both make very good airplanes.”

The simple message and the simple truth: China doesn’t need the United States when it has Europe as a trading partner. Does that make Europe a saboteur of U.S. policy?

Sun didn’t put it in those terms; he didn’t even appear to want to suggest it, but the result is the same. U.S. policy that closes its doors to Chinese trade in strategic industries only serves to open doors for other global players like Europe. It certainly does not hurt China. And if China can’t buy what it needs — not from Europe, not from the United States, not from anyone — it simply develops what it needs from scratch.

And, if we are to credit that Department of Defense/Department of State report, China is also not above using “any means necessary,” including its intelligence services and “other illicit approaches,” to get around those pesky U.S. rules and regulations.

In the roundtable, Weeden extended his critique of ITAR, applying it to GNSS matters and beyond. “First, as I said, it has hurt U.S. industry; second, it didn’t stop China from moving straight ahead and putting an operational satellite navigation system into orbit; and third, it has had no effect on China’s behavior with respect to human rights.”

Sun appeared to grimace and shifted in his seat. Perhaps he was thinking to himself something like, “Here we go again,” but that’s just a supposition — he said nothing.

Outlook or Look Out?
The bottom line is that while Europe may have thought it was keeping a strategic edge when it decided to leave China out of Galileo’s inner circle, just as the United States believes ITAR enables it to maintain its own strategic edge, neither has succeeded. China has simply gone on doing what it seems to do best — powering past all obstacles with a steadfast determination and clearly perceived goals, no matter what anyone else says or thinks.

Offline conversations suggest that talks about their respective GNSS programs are still going on between the European Commission and Chinese authorities, possibly involving the EC’s Head of Space Activities Paul Weissenberg at DG Enterprise and Industry, with perhaps two or three meetings a year. But what exactly they are saying to one another is a closely held matter. In all likelihood China is now feeling the strength of its upper hand and enjoying Europe’s weakened arguments about partnership and mutual interest.

What can we actually say about the future of European and Chinese GNSS? Both BeiDou and Galileo will be fully operational satellite navigation systems. Nothing can stop either of them now. They will coexist, along with GPS and GLONASS.

Ultimately, they will have to live together. After all, the EU and China sit together on the Providers Forum of the International Committee on GNSS and the ICG’s working group on compatibility and interoperability.

Judging from the buzz among conference participants over a sumptuous buffet lunch, many people are still waiting for concrete answers to the question of just what that coexistence will ultimately look like. Until then, the uncomfortable questions, awkward pauses, and perplexed looks are likely to continue.

Copyright © 2017 Gibbons Media & Research LLC, all rights reserved.
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Interesting article.

The Sino-US Galileo program is hardly the only such example.

The AEW&C program with Israel was forced to be canceled by Israel side due to the US intervention in 2002 even when the first system was about to be delivered. China went on to develop their own system, which is already at least in its second generation now and has been exported.

China's international satellite launch program suffered a setback and the launch orders essentially dried up after the US ordered a ban on any satellite launch by China with US components in them, where were most of the satellites in the world. China went on to develop her entire satellite industry, and can now export turn-key satellite project, from satellites, launch, ground station and operational support.

The US forbids any Chinese participation in the International Space Station, despite pleas from other countries participating in the program. China went on to develop her own space station program and is set to operate the only space station in space in the early '20s.

And it is not only limited to space industry.

After the Chinese supercomputers have occupied the top rank for several years in a row in the top-500 global supercomputer list, the US banned the export of Inter chips used in these computers, presumably because of the concerns that China would use those computer for nuclear weapons development. China went on to use their indigenous chips a year later and continues to top the list with the new supercomputer.

These are but some of the more prominent examples. While it is understandable that any country would guard their key technologies carefully, particularly from its perceived rivals and adversaries, it often appears that these outright bans hurt rather help the cause. In all of the cases above, China did not lose too much time, yet emerged far stronger and in better position after developing their indigenous industries or products.


This is a classic case of what happens when you kick a baby bird out of nest. He learns how to fly and catch worms on his own and becomes independent and strong. And what would happen if you keep feeding the baby bird to adulthood? He becomes a 40-year old virgin and spends the rest of his life in your basement...