SCIO briefing on China's 1st National Day of Space Flight

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Xu Dazhe, vice minister of China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), administrator of the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND) and administrator of the China National Space Administration

Hu Kaihong, vice director-general of the Press Bureau, State Council Information Office

April 22, 2016

China National Radio:

The development of China's space industry features a range of highlights and is quite impressive. How do you evaluate the level and strength of the industry as a whole? What's the schedule, plan and target for China's space industry? What kind of large project will be implemented next?

Xu Dazhe:

China now is truly a large country in the space industry, but the United States and Russia are still ahead and the European Space Agency (ESA) also has advanced technology. Currently, China is stepping forward to become a major power in the space industry. We hope that with the implementation of the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020), China can become one of the great powers in the industry in the next 15 years. That's a brief answer for your first question.

China's 13th Five-Year Plan has listed a number of large projects in the space industry that will be implemented in the next five years. Currently, the first thing we should do is to continue focusing on existing projects, including the third part of manned space flight, the third part of moon exploration, and the third part of the Beidou Navigation Satellite System, which are expected to be finished in five to seven years. We also plan to complete a high resolution earth observation system at the end of 13th Five-Year Plan.

Next, we will take about10 years to establish our national civil space infrastructure, which has already been released to the world. During the 13th Five-Year Plan period, we plan to develop deep space exploration, spacecraft on-orbit services and maintenance systems, a sky-earth integration information network and heavy-carrier rockets. This year is the 60th anniversary of China's inception of the space industry, and we have many programs to be launched. In January 2016, we approved the Mars exploration project. Chang'e 4 will land on the far side of the moon, which will be the first landing on the far side by a human being. And the key technology plan for heavy-carrier rockets has been approved. Thus, we have very much work to do on engineering developments for space flight during this period.

As the administrator of the China National Space Administration, I would like to say that in my mind, I have to think not only about aerospace engineering, but also space science and application. The biggest transformation for China's space industry now is to use space resources to serve national economic development and people's wellbeing. Therefore, the three systems -- remote sensing, navigation, communication -- will be expanded accordingly. Just now, I mentioned the development concept of emphasizing technological innovation and stepping up the two "wings" of space application and space science, which is a big change for us. We also should contribute more to mankind. Regarding space science, we will explore more unknown areas and understand more about surviving environments and the space environment of the earth.


According to previous media reports, China will establish a space station around 2020. But Xinhua reported yesterday that the establishment will be carried out around 2022. Which is the exact year? If the plan is changed, why? You said just now that China would establish national civil space infrastructure around 2025, what kind of infrastructure do you mean? Could you give us a brief introduction about that?

Xu Dazhe:

Our plan is to establish a space station around 2020, and we are now carrying out a space lab project. This year, we will launch Tiangong-2 and Shenzhou-11, and conduct a range of tests for a space lab. Around 2020 or 2022, we plan to establish our space station without any change. The word "around" means 2020, 2021 or 2022, it's not an exact number. As for why, manned space flight is a challenging and complicated project, our plan is to accomplish it in 2022. Regarding your question about national civil space infrastructure, I think you can find some documents online. We plan to establish three systems: relatively completed remote sensing, navigation and communication system, in order to serve mankind and people's wellbeing. Currently, I pay more attention on how to improve strategic emerging industries and their applications. Thank you.

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