Despite its gaps with some western countries that enjoy more advanced space and satellite technologies, China still wants to become a competitor in the space field by means of carrying out more major projects.
"China's space technology still lags behind the advanced nations and is increasingly not adapted to the rapidly growing demand of the country's modernization process," said Yuan Jiajun, president of the Chinese Research Institute of Space Technology.
Compared with other space powers, one of the key outstanding problems that China suffers is the lack of innovation capability, which, as a rule, would impact a player's overall competitiveness in the end.
"Innovation will undoubtedly play a core role in the development process of China's space industry, " said Sun Laiyan, president of the China National Space Administration. "We must take the improvement of innovation capability as the top task to achieve."
In the near future, he said, the implementation of new major space projects, which are often the embodiment of national space strategy, should be the major pushing factor to lift the level of China's space industry.
To date, China has sent more than 60 satellites and five spacecraft into orbit in 35 years since its first satellite, "Dongfanghong I", was blast off in 1970.
However, compared with advanced countries, China's space industry remains at a starting phase given its small share in the global space service market and limited contribution to the national economy.
China is now in the process of drawing up a middle and long term development plan for its space industry, Yuan said, which will help keep China at a relatively leading status and thus meet the main needs appearing during China's modernization process.
"We'll develop more satellites so as to form a joint earth observation system and a new-generation regional satellite navigating and positioning system," said Yuan.
The research and development of communications and science experimental and exploration satellites will also be the key parts so as to form a science experimental satellite series.
According to Yuan, China's now pressing on with the first phase of its moon exploration project so as to realize China's first ever circumlunar flight by 2006.
"China also welcomes cooperation from overseas," said Sun, claiming China is considering optimization of resources from both home and abroad and to shape a multilevel and international collaboration structure.
"China is facing a new period in building a well-off society and we must enhance the senses of pressure and mission to promote new historical leaps in China's space technology," said Yuan.
(Xinhua News Agency August 4, 2005)