UPDATED- China Daily has a copy of the white paper that describes China space programme’s five-year plan, a China National Space Administration (CNSA) pronounced a Long March-5 rockets “will use non-toxic and pollution-free propellant”. This would catch up to Russian and American rockets that have been using non-toxic fuel for a few decades.
BBC News- The Shenzhou-9 and Shenzhou-10 spaceships will be launched to dock with the Tiangong-1 space lab module. Officials have indicated that at least one of the two next Shenzhou missions would be manned and that 2012 might even see the country’s first female astronaut.
Major Tasks for the Next Five Years
In the next five years, China will strengthen its basic capacities of the space industry, accelerate research on leading-edge technology, and continue to implement important space scientific and technological projects, including human spaceflight, lunar exploration, high-resolution Earth observation system, satellite navigation and positioning system, new-generation launch vehicles, and other priority projects in key fields. China will develop a comprehensive plan for construction of space infrastructure, promote its satellites and satellite applications industry, further conduct space science research, and push forward the comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable development of China’s space industry.
1. Space Transportation System
China will build a stronger space transportation system, keep improving its launch vehicle series, and enhance their capabilities of entering space.
It will enhance the reliability and adaptability of launch vehicles in service, and develop new-generation launch vehicles and their upper stages, implement the first flight of the Long March-5, Long March-6 and Long March-7 launch vehicles. The Long March-5 will use non-toxic and pollution-free propellant, and will be capable of placing 25 tons of payload into the near-Earth orbit, or placing 14 tons of payload into the GEO orbit. The Long March-6 will be a new type of high-speed response launch vehicle, which will be capable of placing not less than 1 ton of payload into a sun-synchronous orbit at a height of 700 km. The Long March-7 will be capable of placing 5.5 tons of payload into a sun-synchronous orbit at a height of 700 km.
It will conduct special demonstrations and pre-research on key technologies for heavy-lift launch vehicles.
2. Man-made Earth Satellites
China will build a space infrastructure frame composed of Earth observation satellites, communications and broadcasting satellites, plus navigation and positioning satellites, and will develop a preliminary long-term, sustained and stable service capability. China will develop new types of scientific satellites and technological test satellites.
1) Earth observation satellites
China will improve its present meteorological, oceanic, and resource satellite series and its small satellites constellation for environmental and disaster monitoring and forecasting. It aims at developing and launching new-generation GEO meteorological satellites, stereo mapping satellites, radar satellites for environment and disaster monitoring, electromagnetic monitoring test satellites, and other new-type Earth observation satellites. It will work to make breakthroughs in key technologies for interferometric synthetic-aperture radar and gravitational field measurement satellites. It will initiate a high-resolution Earth observation system as an important scientific and technological project and establish on the whole a stable all-weather, 24-hour, multi-spectral, various-resolution Earth observation system.
2) Communications and broadcasting satellites
China will improve satellites for fixed communications services, television and radio service satellites and data relay satellites; develop satellites for mobile communication service; and develop a platform of higher capacity and higher power for new-generation GEO communications and broadcasting satellites.
3) Navigation and positioning satellites
Based on “three-step” development plan – from experimental system to regional system and then to global system, China will continue building its Beidou satellite navigation system, implementing a regional Beidou satellite navigation system before 2012, whose navigation and positioning, timing and short-message services will cover the Asia-Pacific region. China aims at completing the global Beidou satellite navigation system by 2020, comprising five GEO satellites and 30 non-GEO satellites.
4) Scientific satellites and technological test satellites
China will develop and launch a Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope satellite, Shijian-9 new technology test satellite, and returnable satellites. It will begin to implement projects of quantum science test satellite and dark matter probing satellite.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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