A new type of satellite jointly developed by China and the European Space Agency is to be launched later this year, a Chinese space official said Tuesday.
China would make greater efforts to improve its space technology applications and service satellites, said Sun Laiyan, deputy director of the China National Space Administration, after China and Brazil jointly sent two satellites into orbit on Tuesday.
"This project marks a milestone in China's exploration of outer space," said Sun.
China was also developing a new generation of carrier rockets, which could send satellites of 20 tons into low orbit, and satellites of 10 tons into geosynchronous orbit.
Sun said China's space technology would eventually be applied to national economic and social development.
Sun also elaborated on China's cooperation with other nations in space technology.
In the 1980s, China gave great support to the French space program and launched an Asia-Pacific Multilateral Space Cooperative Organization. In October 2002, the seven-member states of the organization reached an agreement to jointly develop a small satellite.
China also offered training courses to neighboring Asian-Pacific countries on related technology and help to build ground stations to receive satellite signals.
It has established close relations with Canada, Germany and Russia and was strengthening cooperation in space with the Republic of Korea, Japan and India, said Sun.
China was willing to have wider international cooperation at a higher level in space technology while pursuing independent space development, said Sun.
(Xinhua News Agency October 22, 2003)