China – Parabolic Arc http://www.parabolicarc.com Space Tourism ... and Much More Fri, 24 Feb 2017 15:56:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.2 China Space Program White Paper Outlines Lunar & Mars Missions http://www.parabolicarc.com/2016/12/29/china-space-program-white-paper/ http://www.parabolicarc.com/2016/12/29/china-space-program-white-paper/#comments Thu, 29 Dec 2016 23:54:53 +0000 http://www.parabolicarc.com/?p=60322 china_flagA white paper outlining China’s space policy for the next five years calls for a sample return mission to the moon, a landing on the far side of Earth’s closest neighbor, and the launch of an orbiter and lander to Mars by 2020.

China will also begin constructing a permanent space station and research and development work on a heavy-lift launcher, reusable boosters and satellite servicing systems.

The nation also wants to expand international cooperation in areas that include remote sensing, space applications, lunar and planetary exploration, and human spaceflight.

“In the next five years China will, with a more active and open attitude, conduct extensive international exchanges and cooperation concerning space,” the white paper states.

Because Chinese officials have been much more open about the nation’s space plans in recent years, the document does not contain much that’s new. It does pr0vide a comprehensive overview of the country’s plans for the next five years.

Excerpts from key sections of the report follow.

Human spaceflight

  • Launch Tianzhou-1 cargo spacecraft to dock with Tiangong-2 space station
  • Research and master key technologies for cargo resupply
  • Complete research and development work on space station modules
  • Begin to assemble and operate a space station
  • Acquire key technologies and conduct experiments to improved human spaceflight capacity
  • Lay foundation for exploring and developing cislunar space.

Deep Space Exploration

  • Launch Chang’ e-5 lunar sample return by the end of 2017
  • Launch the Chang’e-4 lunar probe around 2018 to achieve first soft landing on the far side of the moon
  • Chang’e-4 will conduct in situ and roving detection and relay communications at earth-moon L2 point
  • Launch China’s first Mars probe by 2020 to carry out orbiting and roving exploration
  • Conduct further studies and key technological research into the bringing back of soil samples from Mars, asteroid exploration, exploration of the Jupiter system and planetary fly-by exploration

Space Transportation

  • Develop, launch and upgrade medium-lift launch vehicles which are non-toxic and pollution-free
  • Research key technologies and develop plans heavy-lift launch vehicles, with launch of the program to follow
  • Research low-cost launch vehicles, new upper stages and reusable space transportation systems

Space Technology

  • Conduct experiments on key technologies for new electric propulsion, laser communications and common platforms of new-generation communications satellites.
  • Build in-orbit servicing and maintenance systems for spacecraft and
  • Perform in-orbit experiments on new theories, technologies and products

Space Science

  • Seek evidence of the existence of dark matter by using dark matter particle exploration satellites to detect high-energy electrons and high-energy gamma rays
  • Launch a hard X-ray modulation telescope to study the matter dynamics and high-energy radiation processes in the strong gravitational field of compact celestial bodies and black holes
  • Conduct research into large-scale structure and interaction models of solar wind and the magnetosphere, and response to magnetospheric substorm change process
  • Utilize the Shijian-10 recoverable satellite, Chang’e probes, Shenzhou spacecraft, Tiangong-2 space laboratory and Tianzhou-1 cargo spacecraft perform scientific experiments and research in biology, life sciences, medicine and materials in the space environment
  • Use quantum experiment satellites to conduct experiments and research in the fields of quantum key transmission, quantum entanglement distribution, and quantum teleportation
  • Carry out basic research into sun-earth space environment, space climate, and solar activity and its impact on space climate, and implement space-related interdisciplinary research
  • Develop comprehensive techniques for analyzing data from space observations on the properties of X-rays, the energy spectrum and spatial distribution of high-energy electrons and high-energy gamma rays, space physics, extraterrestrial celestial bodies, and the earth’s electromagnetic field and ionosphere

Space Environment

  • Improve the standardization system for space debris, near-earth objects and space climate
  • Enhance the space debris basic database and data-sharing model, and advance the development of space debris monitoring facilities, the early warning and emergency response platform and the online service system
  • Improve the space environment monitoring system and to build a disaster early warning and prediction platform to raise our preventative capability
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Chinese Astronauts Enter Tiangong-2 Space Station http://www.parabolicarc.com/2016/10/18/chinese-astronauts-enter-tiangong2-space-station/ http://www.parabolicarc.com/2016/10/18/chinese-astronauts-enter-tiangong2-space-station/#comments Tue, 18 Oct 2016 22:56:08 +0000 http://www.parabolicarc.com/?p=59717

The other astronaut Chen Dong enters #Tiangong2 space lab pic.twitter.com/5P5J4zDWjn

— CCTV+ (@CCTV_Plus) October 18, 2016

Chinese astronauts Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong have docked their Shenzhou-11 spacecraft to Tiangong-2 and entered the orbiting space station for a 30-day stay.

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Is the U.S. Losing the Space Race to China? http://www.parabolicarc.com/2016/09/22/losing-space-race-china/ http://www.parabolicarc.com/2016/09/22/losing-space-race-china/#comments Thu, 22 Sep 2016 22:14:31 +0000 http://www.parabolicarc.com/?p=59469 Capitol Building
House Space Subcommittee Hearing

Are We Losing the Space Race to China?

Date: Tuesday, September 27, 2016 – 10:00am
Location: 2318 Rayburn House Office Building Subcommittees:

Witnesses

Hon. Dennis C. Shea
Chairman, U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission

Mr. Mark Stokes
Executive Director, Project 2049 Institute

Mr. Dean Cheng
Senior Research Fellow, Asian Studies Center, Heritage Foundation

Dr. James Lewis
Senior Vice President and Director, Strategic Technologies Program, Center for Strategic & International Studies

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China Launches Quantum Science Satellite to Test Secure Communications http://www.parabolicarc.com/2016/08/17/china-launches-quantum-science-satellite-secure-communications/ http://www.parabolicarc.com/2016/08/17/china-launches-quantum-science-satellite-secure-communications/#comments Wed, 17 Aug 2016 19:17:57 +0000 http://www.parabolicarc.com/?p=59171 china_flagOn Monday, China launched the experimental Quantum Science Satellite designed to demonstrate quantum communications, which could lead to secure communications that cannot be hacked.

Kicking off a two-year mission, the Micius satellite will test out quantum communications over greater distances than ever tried on the ground. It will help establish an encrypted connection between ground stations in China and Austria with the help of scientists in both countries.

“We have been doing things like quantum cryptography and quantum teleportation, and other things, in the lab beginning in the mid-1990s, and we have extended this outside the lab, with experiments between two islands of the Canary Islands with distances of 100 miles or so,” said Anton Zeilinger, a professor of experimental physics at the University of Vienna. “Now, the next logical step is the satellite.”

The concept calls for an instrument aboard the newly-launched satellite to generate a pair of photons, tiny sub-atomic particles of light. Then a high-power telescope on satellite will beam one half of the pair to ground stations in China and Europe.

The photons will be in a quantum state, meaning their properties depend on the other. Quantum entanglement has never been proven over such great distances before.

Scientists on the ground will use the photons to create a secret key, allowing messages to be exchanged between Europe and China via conventional networks like the Internet. The key is needed to break the encrypted code.

Read the full story.

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Long March 7 Makes Successful Inaugural Flight http://www.parabolicarc.com/2016/06/25/long-march-7-successful-inaugural-flight/ http://www.parabolicarc.com/2016/06/25/long-march-7-successful-inaugural-flight/#comments Sun, 26 Jun 2016 05:08:02 +0000 http://www.parabolicarc.com/?p=58716 Model of Long March 7 booster
Model of Long March 7 booster

China debuted the new medium-lift Long March 7 launch vehicle on Saturday from its new Wenchang Space Launch Center. It was the first launch from the new coastal spaceport.

The new booster carried a scaled-down version of a next-generation space vehicle designed to carry Chinese astronauts into Earth orbit and deep space. The spacecraft is set to land autonomously in Inner Mongolia after orbiting the Earth.

The two-stage Long March 7 is capable of launching 13,500 kg (29,800 lb) in low Earth orbit and 5,500 kg (12,100 lb) into sun synchronous orbit. The stages are powered by liquid oxygen and kerosene, which are cleaner than the hypergolic fuels that power older Long March boosters.

The new rocket is designed to replace the Long March 2 and Long March 3 boosters.  The first stage is based on the Long March 2F rocket that is used to launch cosmonauts into space aboard Shenzhou spacecraft. The new booster shares engines with the Long March 5 and Long March 6 rockets.

Long March 7 photo by Pline – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41264717

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China to Debut New Spaceport & New Rocket Next Month http://www.parabolicarc.com/2016/05/18/china-debut-spaceport-rocket-month/ http://www.parabolicarc.com/2016/05/18/china-debut-spaceport-rocket-month/#comments Wed, 18 May 2016 20:15:39 +0000 http://www.parabolicarc.com/?p=58421 Long March 5 model
Long March 5 model

The inaugural flight of China’s new Long March 7 rocket next month will be the first launch from the nation’s newest spaceport.

Long March 7 will carry a prototype re-entry capsule for China’s next-generation human spacecraft when it lifts off from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on June 26.

Located on Hainan Island, Wenchang is China’s first orbital launch site located on the coastline. The Jiuquan, Taiyuan and Xichang launch facilities are all situated inland.

Wenchang will be the primary launch site for Long March 7 and Long March 5 rockets. Wenchang is located 19 degrees above the equator, which will make it easier for China to launch satellites into equatorial orbit.

Long March 5, which will be capable of lifting 25 metric tons (55,116 lbs) to low Earth orbit, is scheduled to make its inaugural flight in September. Long March 7 is a medium-lift booster capable of lifting 13.5 metric tons (29,762 lbs) to low Earth orbit.

Because the new Long March 5 and Long March 7 rockets are too large to travel by rail, the launch vehicles travel to Wenchang by ship.

The spaceport, which will have three launch pads, was officially approved in September 2007.

Next month’s Long March 7 mission will carry a conical spacecraft prototype that is similar to the American Orion and Apollo capsules. It is part of a program designed to field a next-generation spacecraft capable of carrying between two and six crew members.

Next generation Chinese human spacecraft
Next generation Chinese human spacecraft

The baseline spacecraft would weigh 14 tons, with a 20 metric ton version featuring a longer service module. The vehicles would be used to support near-Earth, asteroid, lunar and Mars missions.

The new spacecraft would be launched aboard Long March 5 and Long March 7 rockets due to their increased weights.

China is currently flying Shenzhou spacecraft that are similar in appearance and size to the Russian Soyuz transport. The Shenzhou is capable of carrying three crew members.

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China’s Satellite Launch Vehicle Surge http://www.parabolicarc.com/2016/05/16/chinese-launch-vehicles/ http://www.parabolicarc.com/2016/05/16/chinese-launch-vehicles/#comments Mon, 16 May 2016 08:44:47 +0000 http://www.parabolicarc.com/?p=58356 A Long March 3-B rocket lifts off with China's Chang'e-3 lunar rover. (Credit: CAST)
A Long March 3-B rocket lifts off with China’s Chang’e-3 lunar rover. (Credit: CAST)

China is in the midst of an overhaul of its satellite launch capabilities, with the introduction of five new launch vehicles in just over two years.

China will debut a new medium launch vehicle, the Long March 7, in June. Three months later, it will launch its largest rocket to date, the Long March 5, which will be capable of placing 25 metric tons into low Earth orbit.

Last September, the Long March 6 and Long March 11 debuted to serve the small satellite launch market. A third small launcher, Naga-L, is set to make its inaugurate flight by the end of 2017.

NEW CHINESE LAUNCH VEHICLE, 2015-2017
LAUNCH VEHICLE LEO (kg/lbs)
GTO (kg/lbs)
SSO
(kg/lbs)
ESTIMATED PRICE PER LAUNCH FIRST LAUNCH
Long March 11 700 (1,543) N/A 350 (772) Undisclosed September 2015
Long March 6 1,500 (3,307) N/A 1,080 (2,381) Undisclosed September 2015
Naga-L 1,550 (3,417) N/A 620-820 (1,367-1,808) $10 Million Late 2017
Long March 7 13,500 (29,762) N/A 5,500 (12,125) Undisclosed  June 2016
Long March 5 25,000 (55,116) 14,000 (30,865) N/A Undisclosed September 2016

Long March 7 is based on the successful Long March 2F booster, which is used to launch Shenzhou crewed spacecraft. It is considered a cleaner booster because it uses liquid oxygen and kerosene instead of the hazardous dinitrogen tetroxide (nitrogen tetroxide) and unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine used in the existing line of Long March boosters.

The new booster shares engines with the Long March 5 and Long March 6 boosters. Long March 7 will replace the Long March 2 rocket family and eventually the Long March 3 boosters.

Long March 5 will give China a launch vehicle similar to the American Delta IV Heavy. It will be used to launch modules for China’s permanent space station, which is set to begin construction around 2018. Next year, Long March 5 is scheduled to launch the Chang’e 5 mission, which is designed to return soil samples from the surface of the moon.

The Naga-L, which is set to be the first Chinese launch vehicle to operate outside of China, is focused on serving the commercial small satellite market. Officials at the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT) are examining launch sites in Indonesia, Tanzania, Sweden and China.

The table below shows present and future Chinese launch vehicles.

PRESENT & FUTURE CHINESE LAUNCH VEHICLES
LAUNCH VEHICLE LEO (kg/lbs)
GTO (kg/lbs)
SSO
(kg/lbs)
ESTIMATED PRICE PER LAUNCH
Kuaizhou 300 (661) N/A N/A Undisclosed
Long March 11 700 (1,543) N/A 350 (772) Undisclosed
Long March 6 1,500 (3,307) N/A 1,080 (2,381) Undisclosed
Naga-L 1,550 (3,417) N/A 620-820 (1,367-1,808) $10M
Long March 2D 3,500 (7,716) N/A 1,300 (2,866) $30M
Long March 4B 4,200 (9,259) 1,500 (3,307) 2,800 (6,173) $30M
Long March 4C 4,200 (9,259) 1,500 (3,307) 2,800 (6,173) $30M
 Long March 2F 8,400 (18,519)  N/A N/A  N/A
Long March 3A 8,500 (18,739) 2,600 (5,732)  N/A $70M
Long March 3C N/A 3,800 (8,378) N/A $70M
 Long March 3B/E 12,000 (26,456) 5,500 (12,125) 5,700 (12,566) $70M
Long March 7 13,500 (29,762) N/A 5,500 (12,125) Undisclosed
 Long March 5 25,000 (55,116) 14,000 (30,865)  N/A Undisclosed
Long March 9 130,000 (286,601) Unknown N/A Unknown
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Next Generation Chinese Human Spacecraft to Fly in June http://www.parabolicarc.com/2016/05/12/next-generation-chinese-human-spacecraft-fly-june/ http://www.parabolicarc.com/2016/05/12/next-generation-chinese-human-spacecraft-fly-june/#comments Thu, 12 May 2016 08:11:44 +0000 http://www.parabolicarc.com/?p=58343
Next generation Chinese human spacecraft
Next generation Chinese human spacecraft

China’s news launch vehicle, Long March -7, will carry a scaled-down version of a next-generation Chinese human spacecraft on its inaugural flight in June.

The top of the capsule, seen in designs and apparent development above, packs parachutes, GNSS antenna and antenna specially designed to prevent radio silence during hypersonic re-entry….

The successor to the currently-used Shenzhou spacecraft – the 11th mission of which will take two astronauts to Tiangong-2 late this year – will be made from advanced aluminium alloys in order to reduce the vessel’s weight to allow more crew and cargo.

While Shenzhou re-entry capsules return to Earth and touch down on land at Siziwang Banner in Inner Mongolia, the new capsule can also be recovered at sea. It has not thus far been stated if this capability will be tested in June….

Zhang Bonan, chieft designer of the Chinese space station, told CCTV that the second-generation spacecraft could be developed quickly if approved by the state.

The conical spacecraft is similar to the American Orion and Apollo capsules and would be capable of carrying between two and six crew members. The capsule would be attached to service modules of different sizes depending upon the mission.

The baseline spacecraft would weigh 14 tons, with a 20 metric ton version featuring a longer service module. The vehicles would be used to support near-Earth, asteroid, lunar and Mars missions.

The new spacecraft would be launched aboard Long March-5 and Long March-7 rockets due to their increased weights.

China is currently flying Shenzhou spacecraft that are similar in appearance and size to the Russian Soyuz transport. The Shenzhou is capable of carrying three crew members.

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China Eyes Human Mission to Moon in 2036 http://www.parabolicarc.com/2016/05/08/china-eyes-human-mission-moon-2036/ http://www.parabolicarc.com/2016/05/08/china-eyes-human-mission-moon-2036/#comments Mon, 09 May 2016 02:00:12 +0000 http://www.parabolicarc.com/?p=58310 Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University
Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

China is eying a human landing on the moon in about 20 years.

China wants to put astronauts on the moon by 2036, a senior space official said, the latest goal in China’s ambitious lunar exploration program.

China must “raise its abilities and use the next 15 to 20 years to realize manned lunar exploration goals, and take a firm step for the Chinese people in breaking ground in the utilization of space”, Lieutenant General Zhang Yulin, deputy commander of the China Manned Space Program, said.

The paper cited experts saying China needed first to develop a powerful enough rocket to lift a payload of at least 100 metric tons into low Earth orbit. It also needs more advanced technology, including new space suits, for a lunar mission.

China’s space budget is still only about one-tenth of the United States’ outlays, officials have said. According to Chinese state media, China spends about $2 billion a year on its space program, though details are vague.

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China Working on Reusable Launch Vehicles & Spacecraft http://www.parabolicarc.com/2016/04/25/china-working-reusable-launch-vehicles-spacecraft/ http://www.parabolicarc.com/2016/04/25/china-working-reusable-launch-vehicles-spacecraft/#comments Mon, 25 Apr 2016 21:04:41 +0000 http://www.parabolicarc.com/?p=58169 shenzhou1
Shenzhou capsule

Spurred on by developments in the United States, China says it is working on reusable human spacecraft and launch vehicles.

China is studying how to retrieve and reuse manned spacecraft in its future missions, the chief engineer of the nation’s manned space program said on Sunday.

“It’s our next goal to reuse manned spacecraft. We want to make our space exploration cost-effective,” Zhou Jianping said, as China marks Space Day, newly designated by the government to commemorate China’s first satellite launch on April 24, 1970….

Chinese’s official Xinhau news agency also reported that engineers are working on reusable launch vehicles.

Chinese experts have already built a prototype model to test theories on the reusable rocket booster’s landing subsystems. They have completed “experimental verifications” using “multiple parachutes” supposedly attached to the booster, a source with China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technologies (CALT), developer of China’s Long March rocket series, said.

“The experiment has laid solid foundation for the realization of reusable rockets in the country,” the source said.

Ma Zhibin, deputy director of CALT’s aerospace department also confirmed to Xinhua Thursday in a separate interview that Chinese scientists are working on reusable rockets, although the technologies they employ may differ from those of SpaceX.

“There is of course more than one way to do this … I believe we could see some serious results during the 13th Five-Year Plan period,” he said, referring to the five years between 2016 and 2020.

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NASA Gets $1.27 Billion Boost in Spending Measure http://www.parabolicarc.com/2015/12/16/nasa-127-billion-boost-spending-measure/ http://www.parabolicarc.com/2015/12/16/nasa-127-billion-boost-spending-measure/#comments Wed, 16 Dec 2015 08:22:26 +0000 http://www.parabolicarc.com/?p=57077 NASA LOGONASA would received $19.3 billion in FY 2016 under an Omnibus spending measure unveiled early Wednesday by Congress. The amount would be $1.27 billion more than last year and $756 million above the amount requested by President Barack Obama.

The Commercial Crew Program would receive “up to $1.24 billion,” which is the amount requested by the Administration. It would mark the first time that Congress has fully funded the program if it receives the total amount. It is not clear exactly what the phrase “up to” means.

Just about every other major program would receive a boost in spending, including the Space Launch System, Orion deep space vehicle, International Space Station, and the Science and Space Technology programs.

Below is a summary of NASA’s funding from the Senate Appropriations Committee.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

The bill funds NASA at $19.3 billion, a $1.27 billion increase over FY2015, to support the human and robotic exploration of space, fund science missions that enhance the understanding of the Earth, the solar system, and the universe, and support fundamental aeronautics research. This includes:

  • $2 billion for the Space Launch System (SLS), $300 million above the FY2015 enacted level and $644 million above the request. The SLS is the nation’s launch vehicle which will enable humans to explore space beyond our current capabilities. The funding maintains the current schedule for the first launch of SLS, and also provides critical funding for upper stage engine work for future crewed missions.
  • $1.27 billion for the Orion crewed spacecraft, $70 million above the FY2015 enacted level and $174 million above the request. Orion is NASA’s crewed vehicle that is being designed to take astronauts to destinations farther than ever before, including Mars.
  • $5.6 billion for Science, $345 million above the FY2015 enacted level and $301 million above the request. This funding encompasses missions from the Earth, to the Moon, throughout the Solar system, and the far reaches of the universe.
  • Up to $1.24 billion for International Space Station (ISS) crew capabilities, which is $439 million above the FY2015 enacted level. This funding continues development of privately-owned crewed vehicles, which once developed and fully tested, will end the United States’ reliance on Russia for transporting American astronauts to and from the ISS.
  • $687 million for Space Technology, $91 million above the FY2015 enacted level. Funding is included to advance projects that are early in development that will eventually demonstrate capabilities needed for future space exploration.

Below are some spending provisions from the bill.

Exploration Budget (Includes SLS & Orion)

  • $410 million for exploration ground systems
  • $350 million for exploration research and development
  • not less than $85 million from the SLS budget for enhanced upper stage development
  • commercial crew funding transferred to Operations budget

Science Budget

  • $175 million for a Jupiter Europa orbiter
  • Europa orbiter would be launched no later than 2022 aboard the Space Launch System.

Space Technology Budget

  • $133 million for the RESTORE satellite servicing program
  • prohibition on funds supporting activities solely needed for the asteroid redirect mission.

China Prohibition

“None of the funds made available by this Act may be used for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) or the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to develop, design, plan, promulgate, implement, or execute a bilateral policy, program, order, or contract of any kind to participate, collaborate, or coordinate bilaterally in any way with China or any Chinese-owned company unless such activities are specifically authorized by a law enacted after the date of enactment of this Act.”

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U.S. Report Wearily Eyes Rise of Chinese Space Program http://www.parabolicarc.com/2015/12/04/report-wearily-eyes-rise-chinese-space-program/ http://www.parabolicarc.com/2015/12/04/report-wearily-eyes-rise-chinese-space-program/#comments Fri, 04 Dec 2015 13:31:38 +0000 http://www.parabolicarc.com/?p=56976 Long March launch
Long March launch

A section of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2015 Report to Congress casts a weary eye on the rise of the Chinese space program.

“China’s rise as a major space power challenges decades of U.S. dominance in space—an arena in which the United States has substantial military, civilian, and commercial interests,” the report states.

Below are some key excerpts of the report’s section about China’s space program, including an overview, a description the program’s structure, conclusions and recommendations. You can read the full report here. The section on the space program begins on p. 272.

2015 Report to Congress
of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission

China’s Space and Counterspace Programs

Introduction

China has become one of the top space powers in the world after decades of high prioritization and steady investment from its leaders, indigenous research and development, and a significant effort to buy or otherwise appropriate technologies from foreign sources, especially the United States. China’s aspirations are driven by its assessment that space power enables the country’s military modernization
and would allow it to challenge U.S. information superiority during a conflict. As the Commission has documented in previous reports, China has asserted sovereignty over much of the East and South China seas, as well as Taiwan, and is engaged in a course of aggressive conduct to enforce those claims against its neighbors. Among other purposes, China’s space and counterspace programs are designed to support its conduct as part of its antiaccess/area denial * strategy to prevent or impede U.S. intervention in a potential conflict. China also believes that space power drives the country’s economic and technological advancement and provides the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) with significant domestic political legitimacy and international prestige. Although China’s space capabilities still generally lag behind those of the United States and Russia, its space program is expanding and accelerating rapidly as many other countries’ programs proceed with dwindling resources and limited goals.

China’s rise as a space power has important national security implications for the United States, which relies on its own space capabilities to assess and monitor current and emerging threats to national security and project military power globally. Within this context, this section will examine China’s space and counterspace programs, including key organizations involved in the programs; space power’s contribution to China’s national power; China’s development of a robust and comprehensive array of counterspace capabilities; China’s rapid space-based C4ISR † modernization; China’s progress in space launch, human spaceflight, and lunar exploration; and U.S.-China space cooperation. The statements and assessments presented in this section are based on the Commission’s February 2015 hearing on China’s space and counterspace programs, unclassified briefings by U.S. and foreign government officials, consultations with nongovernmental experts on China and space issues, the Commission’s July 2015 fact-finding trip to China, and open source research and analysis.

Key Organizations Involved in China’s Space and Counterspace Programs

China’s space program involves a wide network of entities spanning its political, military, defense industry, and commercial sectors. Unlike the United States, China does not have distinctly separate military and civilian space programs. CCP leaders provide policy guidance and authorize allocations of resources for the program, and various organizations within the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) execute space policy and oversee the space research, development, and acquisition process. China’s military also exercises control over the majority of China’s space assets and space operations.

Although China conducts civilian space activities, such as scientific research and exploration, and Chinese civilian agencies provide input into space policy and space research, development, and acquisition requirements, China does not have an official civilian space program. Tate Nurkin, managing director of research and thought leadership at IHS Jane’s Aerospace, Defense and Security, explained to the Commission:

China’s space program does not have structures in place that make meaningful divisions between military and civil programs, and those technologies acquired and systems developed for ostensibly civil purposes can be applied—and most frequently are—for military purposes. This dynamic indicates that China’s space program is also a critical element in the country’s ongoing military modernization program.

Under this nebulous framework, even China’s ostensibly civilian projects, such as human spaceflight, directly support the development of PLA space, counterspace, and conventional capabilities. Moreover, although any country’s satellites are capable of contributing to its military operations, the PLA during wartime would probably take direct command over all Chinese satellites.

Conclusions

  • China has become one of the top space powers in the world after decades of high prioritization and steady investment from China’s leaders, indigenous research and development, and a significant effort to buy or otherwise appropriate technologies from foreign sources, especially the United States. Although China’s space capabilities still generally lag behind those of the United States and Russia, its space program is expanding and accelerating rapidly as many other nations’ programs proceed with dwindling resources and limited goals.
  • China’s aspirations in space are driven by its judgment that space power enables the country’s military modernization, drives its economic and technological advancements, allows it to challenge U.S. information superiority during a conflict, and provides the Chinese Communist Party with significant domestic legitimacy and international prestige.
  • China’s space program involves a wide network of entities spanning its political, military, defense industry, and commercial sectors. Unlike the United States, China does not have distinctly separate military and civilian space programs. Under this nebulous framework, even ostensibly civilian projects, such as China’s human spaceflight missions, directly support the development of
    People’s Liberation Army (PLA) space, counterspace, and conventional capabilities. Moreover, Chinese civilian and commercial satellites likely contribute to the PLA’s command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) efforts whenever it is technically and logistically feasible for them to be so utilized, and they would probably be directly subordinate to the PLA during a crisis or conflict. Given the PLA’s central role in all of China’s space activities, U.S. cooperation with China on space issues could mean supporting the PLA’s space and counterspace capabilities.
  • China likely has capitalized on international cooperation to acquire the bulk of the technology and expertise needed for most of its space programs. China probably will continue to pursue close cooperation with international partners to overcome specific technical challenges and to meet its research and development objectives and launch timelines.
  • Chinese analysts perceive that China’s advances in space technology have become an important driver for the country’s economic growth. Satellite and launch service sales provide China’s defense industry with a growing source of revenue. Technology spin-offs offer competitive advantages in certain sectors, such as satellite navigation products. Exports of space technology-based products pose challenges to the United States not only due to the non-market-based nature of China’s economy, but also due to military and security concerns.
  • As China’s developmental counterspace capabilities become operational, China will be able to hold at risk U.S. national security satellites in every orbital regime.
  • China is testing increasingly complex co-orbital proximity capabilities. Although it may not develop or operationally deploy all of these co-orbital technologies for counterspace missions, China is setting a strong foundation for future co-orbital antisatellite systems that could include jammers, robotic arms, kinetic kill vehicles, and lasers.
  • China is in the midst of an extensive space-based C4ISR modernization program that is improving the PLA’s ability to command and control its forces; monitor global events and track regional military activities; and strike U.S. ships, aircraft, and bases operating as far away as Guam. As China continues to field additional intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) satellites, its space-based ISR coverage almost certainly will become more accurate, responsive, and timely and could ultimately extend beyond the second island chain into the eastern Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean.
  • China’s rise as a major space power challenges decades of U.S. dominance in space—an arena in which the United States has substantial military, civilian, and commercial interests.

Recommendations

The Commission recommends:

Congress continue to support the U.S. Department of Defense’s efforts to reduce the vulnerability of U.S. space assets through cost-effective solutions, such as the development of smaller and more distributed satellites, hardened satellite communications, and non-space intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets such as unmanned aerial vehicles.

Congress direct the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Air Force, and relevant agencies within the U.S. Intelligence Community to jointly prepare a classified report that performs a net assessment of U.S. and Chinese counterspace capabilities. The report should include a strategic plan for deterring, with active and passive systems, strikes against U.S. assets in light of other countries’ rapid advancements in kinetic and non-kinetic counterspace technology.

Congress direct appropriate jurisdictional entities to undertake a review of (1) the classification of satellites and related articles on the U.S. Munitions List under the International Trafficking
in Arms Regulations and (2) the prohibitions on exports of Commerce Control List satellites and related technologies to China under the Export Administration Regulations, in order to determine which systems and technologies China is likely to be able to obtain on the open market regardless of U.S. restrictions and which are critical technologies that merit continued U.S. protection.

Congress allocate additional funds to the Director of National Intelligence Open Source Center for the translation and analysis of Chinese-language technical and military writings, in order to deepen U.S. understanding of China’s defense strategy, particularly related to space.
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* According to the U.S. Department of Defense, ‘‘antiaccess’’ actions are intended to slow deployment of an adversary’s forces into a theater or cause them to operate at distances farther from the conflict than they would prefer. ‘‘Area denial’’ actions affect maneuvers within a theater, and are intended to impede an adversary’s operations within areas where friendly forces cannot or will not prevent access. U.S. Department of Defense, Air Sea Battle: Service Collaboration to Address Anti-Access & Area Denial Challenges, May 2013, 2.

† C4ISR refers to command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

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China Eyes Next Generation Crew Vehicle for Deep Space Missions http://www.parabolicarc.com/2015/10/09/china-eyes-generation-crew-vehicle-deep-space-missions/ http://www.parabolicarc.com/2015/10/09/china-eyes-generation-crew-vehicle-deep-space-missions/#comments Fri, 09 Oct 2015 17:29:08 +0000 http://www.parabolicarc.com/?p=56569 china_flagChina is eyeing a next-generation human space transportation system to carry taikonauts to future space stations and to conduct missions to the moon, Mars and asteroids, according to a report on a Chinese space blog.

A feasibility study proposes a conical spacecraft similar to the American Orion and Apollo capsules capable of carrying between two and six crew members. The capsule would be attached to service modules of different sizes similar to the ones used for Apollo missions.

The baseline spacecraft would weigh 14 tons, with a 20 metric ton version featuring a longer service module. The vehicles would be used to support near-Earth, asteroid, lunar and Mars missions. The study eyes reusing the return capsules.

The new spacecraft would be launched aboard Long March 5 and Long March 7 rockets due to their increased weights.

China is currently flying Shenzhou spacecraft that are similar in appearance and size to the Russian Soyuz transport. The Shenzhou is capable of carrying three crew members.

The report indicates that a feasibility study has been conducted. However, it does not appear as if a program has been approved and funded.

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China to Launch Second Space Station Next Year; Moon Plans Remain Uncertain http://www.parabolicarc.com/2015/03/09/china-space-update/ http://www.parabolicarc.com/2015/03/09/china-space-update/#comments Mon, 09 Mar 2015 13:15:00 +0000 http://www.parabolicarc.com/?p=54814 Model of the Tiangong-2 space station
Model of the Tiangong-2 space station

China plans to launch a larger space station next year that will have the capability of being resupplied by robotic cargo ships.

The Tianzhou-1, which literally means “heavenly vessel”, will carry propellants, living necessities for astronauts, research facilities and repair equipment to China’s second orbiting space lab Tiangong-2, said Zhou Jianping, chief engineer of China’s manned space program.

Cargo transportation system is a key technology China must master and make breakthroughs to build its own space station, said Zhou who is also a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the country’s top political advisory body….

According to Zhou, Tianzhou-1 will be blasted off on top of a next-generation Long March-7 rocket, possibly from a new launch site in the southern Hainan Province.

Research on the Long March-5 carrier rocket – to be used to lift the Tiangong-2 lab into space – Tiangong-2’s payload, and selection of astronauts for the mission are currently “progressing in an orderly manner,” Zhou said.

Tiangong-2 will be larger than its predecessor and will resemble the Salyut space station first flown by the Soviet Union in the 1970’s. It will have docking ports on both ends.

Meanwhile, Zhou says that while China has no plans to send astronauts to the moon for the time being.

“With China’s current technologies of manned space flight and moon probe, we have the technology basis to realize the manned lunar mission,” said Zhou Jianping, chief designer of China’s manned space program.

Zhou…said that challenges and a lot of preparation precede the realization of the manned lunar mission.

For example, it requires the research and development of a bigger carrier rocket and the bigger and more sophisticated manned spacecraft, he added.

 

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China Outlines Space Station, Moon and Mars Plans http://www.parabolicarc.com/2014/12/07/china-outlines-space-station-moon-mars-plans/ http://www.parabolicarc.com/2014/12/07/china-outlines-space-station-moon-mars-plans/#comments Sun, 07 Dec 2014 22:23:46 +0000 http://www.parabolicarc.com/?p=54116 The crew of Shenzhou-10 after 15 days in space. (Credit: CNSA)
The crew of Shenzhou-10 after 15 days in space. (Credit: CNSA)

Lei Fanpei, chairman of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), have given journalists an outline of the China’s plans for it space program over the next 15 years:

China hopes to put a rover on Mars around 2020, complete a manned space station around 2022 and test a heavy carrier rocket around 2030, a top space scientist revealed Sunday.

A feasibility study on the country’s first Mars mission is completed and the goal is now to send an orbiter and rover to Mars….

The Tiangong-2 space lab will be launched around 2016 along with the Shenzhou-11 spacecraft and Tianzhou-1 cargo ship. Around 2018, a core experimental module for the station will be put in place.

By around 2022, China’s first orbiting space station should be completed. It will consist of three parts — a core module attached to two labs, each weighing about 20 tonnes.

A powerful carrier rocket is essential for a manned moon landing.

The rocket is envisaged as having a payload capacity of 130 tonnes to low Earth orbit. Once in service, it will help with missions between 2030 and 2050, and secure China’s position in terms of space exploration and technology.

 

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