China will launch the Tianhe core module of its first permanent space station aboard a Long March-5B Y2 rocket from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site during the first half of 2021, according to the chief designer of China’s human spaceflight program. Xinhuareports:
“Subsequent space missions include the launches of Tianzhou-2 cargo craft and Shenzhou-12 manned craft after the core module is sent into orbit,” Zhou [Jianping] said.
China is scheduled to complete the construction of the space station around 2022.
Two experiment modules named Wentian and Mengtian will be attached to the core. Launches of the new modules are scheduled for 2021 and 2022.
The space station will be similar in size to the Mir space station built by the Soviet Union during the 1980’s. It will have a mass about one-quarter that of the International Space Station.
Chinese astronauts will travel to the space station using three-seat Shenzhou spacecraft. Later flights will be aboard the nation’s next-generation crewed spacecraft, which will be capable of carrying six or seven astronauts. The next-generation vehicle is being designed for trips to the moon.
Robotic Tianzhou-2 spacecraft capable of carrying around 6,000 kg of cargo will resupply the station.
The Global Timesreports China has chosen 18 astronaut candidates as part of its third round of selections.
The 18 stand-by astronauts include seven pilots, seven engineers and four payload specialists. The latter two are selected for the first time into China’s astronaut team in order to meet the requirements of the construction of China’s space station.
Pilots and engineers will be in charge of operating and managing the spacecraft and conducting technical experiments. The load experts will be responsible for on-orbit operation of scientific experimental payload.
Pilots are selected from active pilots serving in the People’s Liberation Army Air Force. Engineers are elected from engineering technicians in aerospace or related areas. Load specialists are selected from personnel in the fields of science research and application of manned space engineering.
The story does not identify the 18 candidates. China is scheduled to begin launching the first modules of a permanent space station in 2021.
WASHINGTON (Department of Defense PR) — The Department of Defense announces the release of its annual report on “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China.” The congressionally mandated report serves as an authoritative assessment on military and security developments involving the PRC.
This year’s report highlights the links between China’s national strategy and developments within China’s armed forces.
Under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, the strategy calls for “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” by 2049, including the transformation of the People’s Liberation Army into a “world-class” military.
China completed its Beidou satellite navigation system with a launch last week, fully standing up a rival to the American Global Positioning System (GPS), Europe’s Galileo constellation, and Russia’s GLONASS system and strengthening the nation as a space power.
A Chinese next-generation crewed spacecraft landed on Friday after a nearly three-day automated flight in Earth orbit.
Pictures from Chinese media showed the capsule descending under three parachutes. The vehicle had made a high-speed reentry from a final orbit of 523 x 6,278 km (325 x 3,901 miles) to simulate a return from deep space.
The new spacecraft, which will carry up to six astronauts, is intended to replace the three-seat Shenzhou spaceship now in use. China will use the new vehicle for operations in Earth and lunar orbit.
A Long March 5B launched the spacecraft into Earth orbit on Tuesday from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island. It was the maiden flight of Long March 5 variant, which will be used to launch elements of China’s first permanent space station next year.
Long March 5B has a core stage with four strap-on boosters. It lacks the upper stage of the Long March 5, which is used to send communications satellites to geosynchronous orbit and probes to the moon and planets.
Continuing our look at the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 Report to Congress, we examine how China is leveraging foreign technology to improve its space program. [Full Report]
by Douglas Messier Managing Editor
China has been building up its domestic space industry through partnerships with foreign universities and by exploiting loopholes in U.S. export laws, according to a new report from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.
“The pursuit of foreign technology and talent, especially from the United States, continues to be central to military-civil fusion and China’s space development modernization goals,” the report stated. “Under military-civil fusion, so-called ‘guidance funds’ pool state-owned and private capital together for investments, allowing the state to steer ostensibly private capital toward investments in nascent dual-use sectors it deems strategically important—a tool China has consistently applied to the development of its space sector.”
Continuing our look at the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 Report to Congress, we examine China’s growing commercial space industry. [Full Report]
by Douglas Messier Managing Editor
China is using aggressive state-backed financing to capture increasing shares of the commercial launch and satellite markets, making it more difficult for American companies to compete and threatening to hollow out the U.S. industrial base.
China is also leverage “military-civil” fusion to create a burgeoning commercial space sector by providing substantial state support. Nearly 90 new space companies have been created since 2014, most of which enjoy the support of the Chinese military, defense industrial base, or state-owned research and development institutions.
Continuing our look at the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 Report to Congress, we examine the growing threat from China’s military space systems. [Full Report]
by Douglas Messier Managing Editor
China has spent the last 15 years testing kinetic kill, directed energy, electromagnetic, cyber and other systems in an effort to develop methods for crippling American satellites during a conflict.
“China’s development of offensive space capabilities may now be outstripping the United States’ ability to defend against them, increasing the possibility that U.S. vulnerability combined with a lack of a credible deterrence posture could invite Chinese aggression,” according to a new report to Congress by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.
HEBEI HUAILAI, China (CNSA PR) — On November 14, 2019, the China National Space Administration invited some foreign embassies and international organizations to go to Hebei Huailai to observe China’s first Mars exploration mission lander hovering obstacle avoidance test and visit relevant test facilities.
SpaceNewsreports that the Chinese government has released a set of rules for its growing commercial launch sector.
The document outlines rules for the research, development, testing of launch vehicles, safety, confidentiality and export control, interaction with launch sites, dealing with propellants, as well as listing supporting laws and regulations for China’s space activities.
The rules also clarify what qualifications are required by commercial aerospace enterprises, the scope of business, as well as what support may be obtained from the government, and underlines the role of the civil-military integration national strategy in fostering development in the sector.
The regulations (Chinese) were jointly developed by the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND), which oversees the country’s space activities, and the Equipment Development Department of the Central Military Commission and announced June 10.
The formulation of guidelines has largely been a top-down process, with no indication of involvement of commercial space actors. A wider, first national space law has been included in the legislative plan of China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress, and could be introduced before 2023.
The South China Morning Post reports that the Chinese government has introduced new regulations to govern the development of commercial space companies.
They require companies to obtain official permission before carrying out rocket research and development as well as production, according to a notice published on the web site of the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense on Monday.
The new rules also require a confidentiality system to be established among commercial rocket companies and asks them to follow state export control regulations when in doubt about whether they can provide overseas services and products.
The detailed regulations come as the number of private companies engaged in the commercialisation of China’s space industry increased to almost 100 in 2018 from 30 a year earlier, and as Beijing puts more emphasis on private sector involvement to boost its space ambitions.
“The specifics give clear direction for China’s commercial space industry, clarifying the qualifications, operational boundaries and national guarantees, which will be conducive to the sector’s healthy and orderly development,” Shu Chang, CEO of Beijing-based commercial rocket pioneer OneSpace Technology, was quoted as saying to state media Global Times on Tuesday.
Last week, we took a look at the significant increase in NASA’s budget for FY 2019. In this story, we will examine the budget increases for the Commerce Department — which manages the nation’s weather satellites — and the Department of Transportation, which oversees commercial launches. We will also take a look how the White House’s National Space Council fared.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
NOAA’s satellite programs received $1,45 billion, which is an increase of $55 million over FY 2018. The bulk of the funding is designated for the GOES-R, Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) and Polar Follow-on (PFO) programs. The amounts include:
China’s aggressive long-range program explore the moon includes a heavy focus on the south pole where probes have detected water.
China’s Chang’e-4 mission is currently exploring the moon with a rover and lander on the far side. The vehicles are communicating with Earth via an orbiting spacecraft. The Chang’e-4 mission also includes two lunar CubeSats, one of which is still operational.
China plans to launch the Chang’e-5 mission by the end of 2020 to bring back soil samples from the lunar surface. The plan is to bring back at least 2 kg (4.4 lb) of soil from the Mons Rümker region in the northwest section of the moon.
Xinhua reports there are three other moon missions planned in the years ahead:
Chang’e-7, set for launch in 2023, will carry out comprehensive surveys of the south pole;
Chang’e-6, scheduled to be launched in 2024, will bring back samples from the lunar south pole; and,
Chang’e-8, scheduled for launch in 2027, will test technologies to lay the ground work for a research base on the lunar surface.
China expects to conduct crewed missions to a lunar base sometime during the 2030’s.