China Looks for Commercial Lunar, Mars Participation

Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

China is looking to get more commercial companies involved in lunar and Mars exploration.

Tian Yulong, secretary general of the China National Space Administration (CNSA), said that commercial aerospace programs had been carried out in low Earth orbit (LEO), but those in deep space exploration would be a challenge, at the Global Space Exploration Conference, which lasts from Tuesday to Thursday.

“In deep space exploration, we need to provide a favorable environment for middle and small-sized enterprises,” he said….

Tian said many Chinese companies showed enthusiasm for taking part in space exploration. In the last two years, more than 10 enterprises have been engaged in microsatellite research and development and about 100 have worked on the development and use of satellite LEO data.


  • JamesG

    The “Mee Too” space race.

  • windbourne

    So weird.
    China remains a VERY devoted communist nation. Outside of businesses doing exports, it is still controlled by the gov.

    Yet, their gov sees more value in helping their businesses take over, then the GOP does in America. Nowadays, the GOP would rather stop private space and float BILLIONS of American tax payer dollars into gov. ventures that will cost 10x what commercial space would.

    If we kill the communist style SLS TODAY and turn it over to the companies that have worked on it, we will then several launches in SLS and FH that can compete as well as money to launch them. Then if those companies wish to put in the money to extend the SLS OR to develop other things and compete, we would be able to do not only the moon, but mars.

  • Jacob Samorodin

    China should join forces with Asgardia. Remember that name. It is a new organization dedicated to creating the first Space Nation with the first Space citizens. #Asgardia
    Check out the website.

  • JamesG

    Or its a new Marvel comic book, one of the two.

  • JamesG

    Or perhaps our problem is that we want to blame everything on the partisan “others” and make everything a political issue?

    China isn’t communist other than they retain some of the superficial trappings of it. The PRC is a totalitarian society with about as much capitalism/socialism mix as any “western country” effectively does. China has an intentional policy of merchantilism to gain economic power. America is busy trying to maintain its dominance in geopolitics mainly by burning its accumulated economic power in the form of outsized defense spending and policies that the diplomatic/political over economic (free trade, climate deals, defense and aid to anyone who can be bought etc.).

    SLS is a drop in the bucket compared to what the US Government wastes, and your idea of “privatizing” SLS has been shown to be unworkable already.

  • windbourne

    China is very much a totalitarian nation. And outside of businesses that can export are still controlled by the gov.

    Sadly, I agree with about your assessment of America’s dealings with other nations. We are acting like Europe used to which is foolish.

    SLS is a political issue. Dems want to throw money at SLS and new space. GOP want to throw money at SLS and any business in their district i.e. old space.

    Ok, I’ll bite. Why will privatizing SLS not work esp when giving a working sls to those companies?

  • windbourne

    Yup. Asgardia just has to give all of the information about its citizens and china will work with them.

  • Tom Billings

    SLS will not work as a commercial entity because its primary design features are there to spend money in the States of the SLS/Orion coalition in Congress, in the companies that used to be dependent on the Shuttle Program. Its features are designed to reinforce the 70 years of growing dependence of the cost+contract club companies on their congressional lordlings. Those companies have business plans that use their end of this dependence to keep their stock prices viable, and their executives’ bonuses lucrative. Those executives have been at this so long that they most often are not personally able to adapt their thinking to anything approaching a market model that does *not* depend on the backing of a congressional baron.

    Technology selected for spending money in politically useful places is too often *not* translatable into any scheme that actually creates more wealth than it consumes. Since it cannot do that, it cannot go commercial. That is why, for instance, Boeing has an Airliner Company with a commercial corprorate culture completely separate from its Boeing Space and Defense Company. That’s why LockMart has not produced an airliner since the L-1011. That’s the way Congress wants it!

  • mike_shupp

    Quite a decent plane, the 1011. I suspect, like other aircraft of its era, it was not as fuel-efficient as current craft. More to the point, it was the ONLY airliner produced by Lockheed at that time, which didn’t give it the versatility an airline might wish. Go to Boeing and they could offer you 6 or 7 different sized aircraft suitable for a couple dozen flight profiles; go to Lockheed and what was on offer were just 1011s, just perfect for 1000-1500 mile hops, with minor differences in seating.

    That’s a marketing problem. Not a malevolent Congress.

  • Paul451

    There’s plenty of fruitloops to go around, no need to pick one.

  • Valerij Gilinskij

    We are waiting for Russia to join the race;)

  • JamesG

    I think they were the first entrant actually. They’ve announced plans public and joint private Moon trips for a decade. Just they don’t have the money to be taken seriously.

  • Tom Billings

    Quite true, Mike. However, by then Lockheed had so much of their attention *on* Congress that I’m thinking their decision-makers weren’t paying the attention they should have to the market. Thus, the market problems.