China’s Ambitious Plans to Dominate Cislunar Space

China’s Yutu 2 rover drives off the Chang’e-4 lander. (Credit: CNSA)

Continuing our look at the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 Report to Congress, we examine China’s plans to achieve a commanding position in cislunar space. [Full Report]

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

China is determined to establish a commanding position in cislunar space, seeing it as a strategic location from which to dominate the final frontier.

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Kuaizhou-1A Launches for Second Time in 4 Days

China launched its second Kuaizhou-1A booster in four days on Sunday, orbiting a pair of commercial Ka-band satellites.

The launch of the KL-a-A and KL-a-B satellites took place from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China at 6 p.m. Beijing time.

The Xinhua news agency described the payloads as “global multimedia satellites” designed to test Ka-band communication technology. The Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Innovation Academy for Microsatellites built the spacecraft, which will be used by an unidentified German company.

Kuaizhou-1A is a four-stage solid fuel booster developed by a subsidiary of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation. The rocket is designed to launch micro-satellites on short notice.

Luxembourg, China Sign Cooperative Space Agreement

Chinese Academy of Sciences to establish a Research Laboratory in Luxembourg

LUXEMBOURG, January 16, 2018 (Luxembourg Government PR) – The Ministry of the Economy and the China National Space Administration (CNSA) signed today a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that provides a framework for the development and implementation of scientific, technical, economic and political cooperation between Luxembourg and China in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes. The areas of potential cooperation include, but are not limited to economic, legal, regulatory and technological aspects of the utilization of space resources.

Furthermore, the Ministry of the Economy, represented by Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Economy, Étienne Schneider and the National Space Science Center (NSSC) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) signed a cooperation agreement to establish a Research Laboratory of Deep Space Exploration in Luxembourg. The National Space Science Center is China’s gateway to space science. It is the key institute responsible for planning, developing, launching and operating China’s space science satellite missions.

The Research Laboratory of Deep Space Exploration will be established as an independent legal entity in Luxembourg where it will carry out scientific research and technology development and thus contribute to achieving the objectives set forth within the SpaceResources.lu initiative. Other main research fields of the Research Laboratory include universal interplanetary communications network related technology or advanced deep space communications technology. In a first stage, the Research Laboratory will employ at least 5 employees in Luxembourg.











Chinese Scientists Develop Mammal Embryos in Space

china_flagChinese scientists say they have developed early-stage mouse embryos in space aboard the SJ-10 microgravity spacecraft, which landed successfully on April 19 after 12 days in orbit.

The SJ-10 research probe, launched on April 6, carried over 6,000 mouse embryos in a self-sufficient chamber the size of a microwave oven, according to Duan Enkui, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

Among them, 600 embryos were put under a high-resolution camera, which took pictures every four hours for four days and sent them back to Earth.

The pictures showed that the embryos developed from the 2-cell stage, an early-on embryonic cleavage stage, to blastocyst, the stage where noticeable cell differentiation occurs, around 72 hours after SJ-10’s launch, Duan said. The timing was largely in line with embryonic development on Earth, he added.

The rest of the embryos loaded on the satellite were injected with fixatives at 72 hours after the launch for studies on the effects of space environment on embryonic development, according to Duan.