SCIO briefing on white paper on China's space activities

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Wu Yanhua, vice head of China National Space Administration
Li Guoping, director of Department of System and Engineering, China National Space Administration

Xi Yanchun, vice director-general of the Press Bureau, State Council Information Office

Dec. 27, 2016

Chairperson Xi Yanchun:

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. At today's press conference, we'll brief you on the main contents of the white paper regarding China's space activities in 2016 and the latest developments in China's space industry.

Today, we have with us here Mr. Wu Yanhua, vice head of China National Space Administration (CNSA), and Mr. Li Guoping, director of Department of System and Engineering, CNSA.

Now, please allow me to make a brief introduction of the white paper.

China has released one white paper on its space activities every five years since 2000. Today's version is the fourth one of its kind. It covers the main tasks and policies of China's space industry. It showcases the progress of China's major projects, including manned spaceflight, lunar exploration, the BeiDou Navigation System and high-resolution earth observation system. It displays our achievements in space science, space technology and space applications. It also explains the country's principles regarding space activities.

The white paper contains about 11,000 words. It's available in multiple languages, including Chinese, English, French, Russian, German, Spanish, Arabian and Japanese.

Now, let's give the floor to Mr. Wu.

Wu Yanhua:

It's a great pleasure to meet you, friends from the press. Thank you for your care and support for China's space industry.

The white paper, China's Space Activities in 2016, reiterates that the fundamental purpose of China's space industry is to explore, develop and utilize outer space for peaceful purposes. It summarizes the major progress China has achieved since 2011 and lays out the development priorities and policy measures for the next five years.

Since 2011, our space industry has witnessed rapid development and played a positive part in promoting scientific and technological progress, economic and social development, comprehensive national strength and human wellbeing.

First, we have achieved substantial results in space science and technology innovation. The country has made significant breakthroughs and mastered the core technologies needed for manned space missions. The Shenzhou 9 and Shenzhou 10 spaceships carried out a successful rendezvous and docking with the already-orbiting Tiangong-1 space lab, while Shenzhou 11 docked with Tiangong 2. Chang'e 3 achieved China's first soft- landing on an extra terrestrial body and carried out roving exploration on the moon, elevating China to a new level in space science and technology. The third phase of the Lunar Exploration Program achieved successful re-entry and landing. The BeiDou-2 Navigation Satellite System (BDS) is now fully developed and is providing users in the Asia-Pacific region with positioning navigation and accurate time services. Construction of the BDS global system has been fueled. Six high resolution Earth observation satellites were launched successfully and are now in use, filling a number of domestic technological gaps. We also successfully launched a number of scientific satellites, including Dark Matter Particle Explorer (DAMPE) and Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS), achieving a series of important scientific research results.

Second, China has greatly enhanced its capabilities in entering space. Between 2011 and November 2016, the Long March rockets accomplished 86 launches, with a success rate of 97.7 percent. The brand-new, large carrier rocket, Long March 5, which uses a non-toxic and pollution-free propellant, was successfully launched in November 2016 after 10 years of research and development. It represents the highest level achieved by China in scientific and technological innovation regarding carrier rockets. China has also successfully launched the newly developed small-load carrier rocket Long March 6 that also uses non-toxic, non-polluting fuel, a new-generation medium-lift Long March 7 and solid-fueled small-load Long March 11, thus laying a sound foundation for developing a whole series of next-generation carrier rockets.

Third, China has substantially improved its capabilities in space utilization. It has released a medium and long-term development plan for civil space infrastructure, initially shaping a key system based on remote sensing, communications and navigation. So far, China has more than 170 operating satellites in orbit and the nation has significantly improved its service capabilities. We are heavily engaged in building a satellite application system with an increasingly enhanced application level and expanded industrial scale. Space technology is playing an ever-increasing important role in the country's national economic and social development.

Fourth, China has greatly expanded international cooperation. Up to now, it has signed more than 100 cooperative agreements with over 30 countries, space institutes and international organizations. The China-Brazil Earth Resource Satellite-04 (CBERS-04) has gone into orbit, and research and development on the Sino-French SVOM (Space-based multi-band astronomical Variable Objects Monitor), the Sino-French Oceanography Satellite (CFOSAT) and the CSES (China Seismo-Electromagnetic Satellite) mission involving Chinese-Italian collaboration are going smoothly. China has completed five whole satellite export and in-orbit deliveries. It is taking the initiative to participate in the activities organized by 16 international organizations, including the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs (OOSA), International Charter on Space and Major Disasters (CHARTER) and Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC), and is playing an important role in multilateral cooperation. The guiding opinions on the construction and application of the "Belt and Road" Space Information Corridor have been issued. Broad consensus has been reached on the country's ideas for building a remote satellite constellation together with the BRICS countries and developing a multi-task, mini-satellite constellation with Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization member countries.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the start of China's space industry and the government has set April 24 as China Space Day.

In order to build China into a space power, we hope to accomplish the following goals: making independent and controllable innovation, researching cutting-edge scientific applications, providing strong and continuous service for economic and social development, providing efficient and reliable guarantee for national security, managing scientific development efficiently, conducting mutual beneficial and win-win international communication and cooperation, building advanced and open aerospace science and technology industrial system, constructing stable and reliable space infrastructure, cultivating innovative talent team, and holding broad and profound spaceflight spirit.

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