Space Part 2

China looks to Mars, Jupiter exploration

January 30, 2017

  • China’s plans for deep-space exploration included two Mars missions and one Jupiter probe. China plans its first Mars probe by 2020, said Wu Yanhua, vice director of the China National Space Administration. A second Mars probe will bring back samples and conduct research on the planet’s structure, composition and environment, Wu said.

http://www.china.org.cn/china/2017-01/30/content_40197841.htm

China’s hi-res SAR imaging satellite put into use

January 23, 2017

  • CHINA’S first high-resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite has passed all its in-orbit tests and is now operational, according to the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense on Monday. The Gaofen-3 satellite, which is accurate to one meter in distance, was launched in August 2016. Tong Xudong, a senior engineer with the administration, said the satellite covers the globe with an all-weather, 24-hour observation service and will be used for disaster prevention and reduction, ocean monitoring, and the protection of maritime rights.

http://www.shanghaidaily.com/nation/Chinas-hires-SAR-imaging-satellite-put-into-use/shdaily.shtml

China schedules Chang’e-5 lunar probe launch

2017-01-23

  • China plans to launch the Chang’e-5 lunar probe at the end of November this year, from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in southern China’s Hainan province, aboard the heavy-lift carrier rocket Long March-5. The mission will be China’s first automated moon surface sampling, first moon take-off, first unmanned docking in a lunar orbit about 380,000 km from earth, and first return flight in a speed close to second cosmic velocity, according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).

http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2017-01/23/content_28029522.htm

China to launch electromagnetic monitoring satellite for earthquake study

Jan 19, 2017

  • China will launch a satellite this year to gather electromagnetic data that may be used in monitoring and forecasting earthquakes. By collecting data on the Earth’s electromagnetic field, ionosphere plasma and high-energy particles, the satellite will be used in real-time monitoring of earthquakes and possible seismic precursors in China and neighboring regions.

http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/China_to_launch_electromagnetic_monitoring_satellite_for_earthquake_study_999.html

China launches small satellites on commercial Kuaizhou-1A rocket

2017/01/09

  • Chinese commercial space player ExPace sent three small satellites into orbit on a Kuaizhou-1A solid-fuelled rocket early on Monday as the corporation looks to gain a foothold in the domestic and international launch market. The Kuaizhou-1A lifted off from a mobile launch platform at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the Gobi Desert at 12:11 local time (04:11 UTC), successfully placing its payloads in orbit.

http://gbtimes.com/china/china-launches-small-satellites-commercial-kuaizhou-1a-rocket

New Geological Map of the Moon Created By Chinese Scientists

Jan 5 2017

  • A new 1: 2.5 million scale geological map of the Moon is being created by Chinese scientists and university experts, according to today”s reports. Ouyang Ziyuan, the chief scientist in China’s lunar exploration program, explained on Thursday that five universities and research institutes have put together standards for digital cartography and sketching of the moon’s geological structure. The map, 4.36 meters long by 2.2 meters wide, is expected to be completed by 2018 and published in 2020.

http://www.plenglish.com/index.php?o=rn&id=7704&SEO=new-geological-map-of-the-moon-created-by-chinese-scientists

Long March 3B launches second TJSW spacecraft for China

January 5, 2017

  • China kicked off its 2017 campaign with the successful launch of the second Tongxin Jishu Shiyan Weixing (TJSW) spacecraft from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. Launch took place at 15:18 UTC on Thursday using the Long March-3B/G2 ‘Chang Zheng-3B/G2’ (Y39) launch vehicle from the LC2 launch complex.

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/01/long-march-3b-with-second-tjsw/

China to attempt close to 30 space launches in 2017

2017/01/03

  • The main contractor for China’s space program will attempt close to 30 launches in 2017, according to a media report on Tuesday, as the country continues to ramp up its space activities. Major missions planned include sending the new Tianzhou-1 cargo craft to the Tiangong-2 space lab in April to test refuelling technologies for a future space station, and the Chang’e-5 lunar sample return late in the year – the first such mission for over four decades.

http://gbtimes.com/china/china-attempt-close-30-space-launches-2017

Beijing’s space program soars in 2016

Jan 01, 2017

  • In 2016, the Chinese government launched a whole array of major space-related projects which proved to be successful, Russian military expert Vasily Kashin told Sputnik China. In 2016, China started tests of its first heavy-lift Long March-5 rocket. The successful completion of the launch vehicle will pave the way for the construction of a Chinese space station, Kashin told Sputnik China. He also cited tests of the country’s solid-propellant rockets. Earlier this year, China was the first to launch a quantum communication satellite into orbit, as well as a satellite for conducting EmDrive engine tests, according to Kashin. 2016 also saw a manned mission on board the Chinese orbital module Tiangong-2, where a cold atom interferometer was installed for possible scientific purposes, including those related to detecting submarines.

http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Chinese_Rockets_Beijings_Space_Program_Soars_Into_the_Air_in_2016_999.html

China’s space program must help protect ‘national security’, Government says

27 Dec 2016

  • China’s space program must help protect the country’s national security, but the country is dedicated to the peaceful use of space and opposes a space arms race, the Chinese Government says in a newly released policy paper.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-27/china-says-space-programme-must-help-protect-national-security/8149676

EmDrive: China claims success with this ‘reactionless’ engine for space travel

December 19, 2016

  • Dr. Chen Yue, Director of Commercial Satellite Technology for the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) announced on December 10, 2016 that not only has China successfully tested EmDrives technology in its laboratories, but that a proof-of-concept is currently undergoing zero-g testing in orbit (according to the International Business Times, this test is taking place on the Tiangong 2 space station).

http://www.popsci.com/emdrive-engine-space-travel-china-success

China joins search for Einstein’s Space Time waves

2016-12-16

  • The China Institute of High-Energy Physics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences announced the official launch of Project Ngari on Dec. 13. The project team plans to build the Ngari 1 telescope and begin scientific observation within five years. Once constructed, it will be the first observatory for primordial gravitational wave detection in the northern hemisphere.

http://english.cri.cn/12394/2016/12/16/4081s947493.htm

China’s overseas remote sensing satellite station starts operation

2016-12-16

  • China’s first satellite station overseas was put into trial operation on Thursday. The China Remote Sensing Satellite North Polar Ground Station is above the Arctic circle, half an hour’s drive from Kiruna, a major mining town in Sweden. An inauguration was held in the Esrange Space Center, where the station is located, on Thursday.

http://www.ecns.cn/2016/12-16/237943.shtml

EmDrive: Chinese space agency to put controversial tech onto satellites ‘as soon as possible’

December 13, 2016

  • China’s space agency has officially confirmed that it has been funding research into the controversial space propulsion technology EmDrive, and that it plans to add the technology to Chinese satellites imminently. The China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), a subsidiary of the Chinese Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) and the manufacturer of the Dong Fang Hong satellites, has held a press conference in Beijing explaining the importance of the EmDrive research and summarising what China is doing to move the technology forward.

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/emdrive-chinese-space-agency-put-controversial-tech-onto-satellites-soon-possible-1596328

China Launches 8th Operational Weather Satellite; How Advanced Is It Compared with American, European Counterparts?

Dec 12, 2016

  • China launched a new-generation weather satellite called Fengyun 4A into space that will help improve weather forecasting and study air pollutants. Launched last Sunday, the satellite was developed by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology and weighs 5.4 metric tons. According to the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, Fengyun 4A was launched at 12:11 AM from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, located in Sichuan Province. It will be at 36,000 kilometers above the Earth for approximately seven years.

http://en.yibada.com/articles/178435/20161212/china-launches-8th-operational-weather-satellite.htm

China’s space science centre unveils new missions after a breakthrough year

2016/12/09

  • China’s National Space Science Centre (NSSC) has unveiled a range of space science missions to be developed over the next five years, following the success of a number of pioneering missions over the last 12 months. The unveiled missions are a space-weather observatory mission in collaboration with the European Space Agency (SMILE), a global water cycle observation mission (WCOM), the Magnetosphere, Ionosphere and Thermosphere mission (MIT), the Einstein Probe (EP), and the Advanced Space-based Solar Observatory (ASO-S).

http://gbtimes.com/china/chinas-space-science-centre-unveils-new-missions-after-breakthrough-year

Astronauts describe food and fun on 33-day journey, say time flew by

2016-12-08

  • Staying home for a whole week might seem unbearable to most people, but for astronauts Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong, staying in space for a month was not enough. “We hoped that the mission could last longer because we had so much fun in space,” said Jing, commander of the Shenzhou XI mission. “We had a very memorable journey.”

http://www.ecns.cn/2016/12-08/236840.shtml

China’s Big Year in Space Sparks Excitement and Speculation

November 30, 2016

  • The Chinese space agency launched a new space lab, sent up its longest crewed mission ever and tested out powerful new rockets Most of the Shenzhou-11 mission had the two crew members, Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong, safely tucked inside the live-in space lab Tiangong-2, which just launched in September. The duo’s work was dedicated in large part to honing expertise required to develop China’s own large space station. That station is due to come online by the mid 2020s—around when the International Space Station is due for retirement—a fact that Chinese space planners have emphasized.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/china-rsquo-s-big-year-in-space-sparks-excitement-and-speculation/

Baidu maps out global expansion

2016-11-29

  • Baidu Map, a desktop and mobile map service provided by China’s online search giant Baidu Inc, is set to become a world mapping service provider covering more than 150 countries and regions. “This signals that we will finally transform from a Chinese map provider to a world map provider and become the Chinese brand that provides global services for mobile travel applications,” said Li Dongmin, general manager of Baidu Map.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/business/tech/2016-11/29/content_27510421.htm

New Chinese commercial-launch company advertises high launch rate, low price

November 29, 2016

  • A Chinese commercial launch-service provider created earlier this year to bid for small-satellite business worldwide expects to launch 10 of its Kuaizhou solid-fueled rockets per year between 2017 and 2020, the company said Nov. 29. In a statement published by China Daily, Zhang Di, vice president of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp. (CASIC) Fourth Academy, said Expace Technology Co. would charge around $10,000 per kilogram of satellite payload, which he said was less than half the prevailing commercial price. Zhang is also chairman of Expace.

http://spacenews.com/new-chinese-commercial-launch-company-advertises-high-launch-rate-low-price/

China’s Secretive Space Program Threatens NASA’s Dominance

November 28, 2016

  • China is NASA’s biggest rival in space exploration with plans to land “taikonauts” on the moon by 2036 and Mars thereafter. Along the way, President Xi Jinping hopes the space missions will spawn a wave of Chinese innovation in robotics, aviation and artificial intelligence, among other leading 21st-century technologies.

https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2016-asia-space-race/china.html

China-made satellites in high demand

2016-11-26

  • Nation has exported 11 such products to nine countries, including Bolivia, Nigeria and Laos China will construct and launch two remote sensing satellites for foreign countries in the coming two years, an industry insider said.

http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2016-11/26/content_27491085.htm

Long March 3C launches fourth Tianlian-1 spacecraft

November 22, 2016

  • China orbited its fourth tracking and data relay satellite in the Tianlian-1 range known as ‘Sky Link’ on Tuesday. The launch took place at 15:24 UTC from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province, utilizing a Long March 3C/G2 rocket.

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2016/11/long-march-3c-launches-tianlian-1/

‘Dramatic leap’ for China’s space program

November 21, 2016

  • China’s space program has come a long way over the decades, but this year marks the “start of a dramatic leap,” according to Teruhisa Tsujino, an expert on China’s space efforts and a visiting fellow at Japan’s Center for Research and Development Strategy, an affiliate of Japan Science and Technology Agency. There has been a flurry of notable successes in 2016. Two days after the Shenzhou-11, a manned spacecraft carrying two astronauts, was launched on Oct. 17, it docked with the orbiting Tiangong-2 space lab. The astronauts spent about 30 days in the lab — the longest for a Chinese mission. They bring the total number of astronauts launched into space on Chinese missions to 14. On Nov. 3, the country launched the massive Long March-5 rocket into space. It is second in size only to the U.S. rocket Delta IV Heavy, with a diameter of about 5 meters and a capacity to launch satellite maximum of 23 tons. China says the behemoth is capable of reaching the moon.

http://asia.nikkei.com/Tech-Science/Tech/Dramatic-leap-for-China-s-space-program

China may have just solved one of the big challenges of deep space travel – VICE News

Nov 20, 2016

  • Last week the China National Space Administration launched the X-ray Pulsar Navigation 1 satellite. The satellite has a new type of navigation system on board which no longer relies on earth-based signals to show where it is in space. Nasa plans to launch a similar satellite next year to the International Space Station. With the x-ray navigation system, GPS satellites are replaced by pulsars — highly magnetized, spinning stars — which send pulses of x-ray energy to spacecraft housing telescopes designed to read those emissions. These measurements are then fed into another algorithm to find out a spacecraft’s position.

https://news.vice.com/story/china-may-have-just-solved-one-of-the-big-challenges-of-deep-space-travel

Shenzhou-11 returns Chinese duo to Earth

November 18, 2016

  • The Chinese spacecraft Shenzhou-11 – and most importantly its crew of two taikonauts – have successfully returned to Earth after China’s longest crewed mission into space. The spacecraft undocked from the Tiangong-2 space module on Thursday, ahead of a Friday touchdown in Mongolia.

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2016/11/shenzhou-11-returns-chinese-duo-to-earth/

Second Launch of China’s Long March-11 Rocket Orbits Five Satellites

Nov 11, 2016

  • The second launch of China’s Long March-11 solid fuel rocket built for quick and reliable launches of light payloads successfully placed five small satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO) on Nov. 9. With a launch mass of 240 kg, XPNAV-1 (X-ray Pulsar NAVigation) will test autonomous spacecraft navigation. X-ray pulsar navigation is a navigation tool that uses periodic X-ray signals emitted from pulsars to determine the location of a spacecraft in deep space.

http://en.yibada.com/articles/172761/20161111/second-launch-china-s-long-march-11-rocket-orbits-five.htm

Pulsar navigation satellite launched

2016-11-11

  • The XPNAV-1 carries two detectors, which help determine the location of spacecraft in deep space China launched an X-ray pulsar navigation satellite on Thursday morning, according to the China Satellite Navigation Office. The XPNAV-1, developed by the China Academy of Space Technology, was sent skyward at 7:42 am atop a Long March 11 solid-fueled rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Northwest China, the office said in a statement.

http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2016-11/11/content_27343196.htm

Space race revealed: US and China test futuristic EmDrive on Tiangong-2 and mysterious X-37B plane

7 November 2016

  • The US Air Force and the Chinese government are presently trialling the controversial EmDrive space propulsion technology on spacecraft, according to sources in the international space industry. Scientists from the Northwestern Polytechnical University (NWPU) in Xi’an, China were one of the first in the world to try to build their own version of the EmDrive in 2008, and between 2012 and 2014 they published a series of papers reporting that they had measured net thrust. However in 2014, they found that the thrust measured was a false positive experimental error due to a power cable, and when they revised the study with an improved EmDrive prototype, they found that any possible thrust being emitted by the device was far too small for their laboratory setup to measure.

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/space-race-revealed-us-china-150504525.html

Poland, China to jointly build satellites, boost space Cooperation

November 3, 2016

  • Poland’s deputy prime minister and science minister Jarosław Gowin recently paid an official visit to China during which he discussed joint space plans by Warsaw and Beijing. Gowin said the two countries will jointly build a satellite, equipped with Polish instruments, that is to be launched in 2018. Under the plan, the new satellite is to be equipped with developed research equipment, and it will study the far side of the moon. The deputy prime minister said that China is an emerging power in the field of space research, and the Polish government aims to intensify its cooperation with the Chinese authorities. The project was first unveiled following Gowin’s meeting with China’s Deputy Prime Minister Chin Liu Yandong in mid-October when Warsaw was offered to cooperate on a joint research project for which China would allocate about $20 million, according to the Polish official.

http://spacenews.com/poland-china-to-jointly-build-satellites-boost-space-cooperation/

China Launches Heavy-Lift Long March 5 Rocket for 1st Time

November 3, 2016

  • The Long March 5 rocket lifted off from the Wenchang launch center on Hainan Island, off China’s southern coast, at 8:43 a.m. EDT (1000 GMT; 8:43 p.m. Beijing time), according to Chinese media reports. But the main goal of today’s flight was to test the rocket, which consists of two stages and stands 187 feet (57 meters) tall. The Long March 5 is capable of lofting 27.6 tons (25 metric tons) to low-Earth orbit (LEO) and 15.4 tons (14 metric tons) to the more distant geostationary transfer orbit, according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.

http://www.space.com/34601-china-launches-long-march-5-heavy-lift-rocket.html

China initiates country’s first centimeter-level positioning system

2016-11-02

  • China has launched its first centimeter-level positioning system, which can significantly improve the accuracy of its domestic navigation satellite system. Kuilong, the new positioning system, is a crucial part of the country’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS). By calculating and analyzing data received from over 300 satellite navigation stations worldwide, the system can precisely calibrate orbit and clock errors, which are the main factors disrupting positional accuracy, according to China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) on Nov. 1.

http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2016-11/02/content_27253674.htm

China to launch first e-commerce satellite in 2017

2016-10-31

  • China plans to launch its first e-commerce satellite in 2017, with the primary purpose of using satellite data in agriculture. The plan was announced on Monday during an international aviation and aerospace forum in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, China Aerospace Museum and Juhuasuan, an arm of e-commerce giant Alibaba. “In an era of space economy, the potential of a commercial space industry is immeasurable,” Han Qingping, president of the Chinarocket Co., Ltd, said at the forum.

http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2016-10/31/content_27230604.htm

China wins breakthrough contract for Thaicom telecommunications satellite

October 28, 2016

  • China Great Wall Industry Corp.’s win of a contract for a high-throughput Ka-band broadband satellite for Thailand’s Thaicom is a breakthrough deal for China’s satellite export industry, which up to now has relied on domestic demand and special-circumstances orders, mainly from emerging-market governments. The contract, from Thaicom subsidiary International Satellite Co. Ltd., is valued at $208 million covering the satellite’s construction and launch, continuing a China Great Wall Industry Corp. (CGWIC) practice of bundling satellite construction and launch contracts.

http://spacenews.com/china-wins-breakthrough-contract-for-thaicom-telecommunications-satellite/

The first “selfie” of Tiangong-2 and Shenzhou-11 together in space

2016-10-24

  • The first 300 photos of the Tiangong-2 space lab and Shenzhou-11 manned spacecraft after the docking have been sent back to the earth on Monday, according to CCTV News. The photos were taken by an accompanying satellite, which was nicknamed the “Selfie Stick”, launched from Tiangong-2 at 7:31 a.m. on last Sunday. “The accompanying satellite has both a high-resolution camera and infrared camera installed on it for monitoring the space lab,” said Chen Hongyu, chief engineer of the satellite program and a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Micro-satellite Innovation Institute.

http://english.cri.cn/12394/2016/10/24/2281s943292.htm

Turkmenistan, China considering space co-op opportunities

20 October 2016

  • Turkmenistan and China are considering cooperation opportunities in the field of space research, the Turkmen government said in a message October 20. “The National Space Agency under the president of Turkmenistan and the China National Space Administration have a huge potential for cooperation,” the message said. According to the message, the Turkmen delegation is taking part in the 4th China-Central Asia Cooperation Forum, which opened in Chengdu city, the capital of China’s Sichuan province October 19.

http://en.trend.az/casia/turkmenistan/2674925.html

Shenzhou-11 docks with Tiangong-2 in latest Chinese space station mission

October 18, 2016

  • The Chinese spacecraft Shenzhou-11 – and its crew of two taikonauts – has successfully docked with the Tiangong-2 space module at 19:24 UTC. The docking begins a month long mission in which the crew will conduct a series of experiments aimed at progressing China’s ambitions in space.

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2016/10/shenzhou-11-docks-tiangong-2-latest-chinese-space-station-mission/

In space, the looming threat of a new arms race

October 17, 2016

  • Killer satellites, blinding lasers, sophisticated jammers: the world’s military powers are quietly readying for a war in outer space—at the risk of fueling a dangerous new arms race. China, too, has demonstrated its ability to send a small, low-orbit satellite capable of maneuvering toward another craft. Teresa Hitchens, senior research scholar at the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland, said that China in 2013 launched three small satellites into orbit, one of which had a robotic grappling arm.

http://phys.org/news/2016-10-space-looming-threat-arms.html

China’s ambition in global satellite operations may be coming into view

October 11, 2016

  • China’s presumed ambition to snatch up satellite spectrum by purchasing struggling satellite operators around the world was one of the hottest topics at this years APSCC conference, despite the absence of the Chinese government. Aside from an increased role in East Asia’s satellite market, notably through fleet operator APT Satellite Holdings of Hong Kong, these officials said indications are that China has identified satellite telecommunications as a strategic value far beyond assuring China’s formidable domestic needs.

http://spacenews.com/chinas-ambition-in-global-satellite-operations-may-be-coming-into-view/

China to launch world’s first X-ray pulsar navigation satellite

2016-10-10

  • X-ray pulsar navigation is an innovative navigation technique wherein periodic X-ray signals emitted from pulsars are used to determine the location of a spacecraft in deep space. Current ground-based navigation methods are limited by the time delay between spacecraft and the Earth. However, for certain type of pulsars, called “millisecond pulsars,” pulses of radiation occur with the regularity and precision of an atomic clock. As a result, in some scenarios, the pulsar X-ray can take less time to estimate a location. This leads to more precise measurements of a spacecraft’s location. According to Shuai Ping, chief scientist behind the research of XPNAV-1 satellite, the key aim of this satellite is to detect the details of X-ray signals of 26 nearby pulsars, and to create a “pulsar navigation database.” This target could be achieved within five to 10 years, Shuai estimates.

http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2016-10/10/content_27014033.htm

Mind-controlled tech to aid astronauts

2016-10-10

  • Chinese space scientists are developing technologies that will allow astronauts to use their thoughts to control equipment in spacecraft, according to the China Manned Space Agency. The system will translate astronauts’ brain impulses into words to communicate with ground control and operate instruments in spacecraft. The goal is to improve the efficiency of astronauts’ interaction and coordination with machines.

http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2016-10/10/content_27007288.htm

China’s Private Space Industry Prepares To Compete With Spacex And Blue Origin

October 7, 2016

  • One of the more intriguing of China’s emerging commercial space launch companies is Expace. Founded in February, the firm will be the lead tenant of China’s first commercial space industrial park in Wuhan, China. It has already signed up over 10 launches for its solid fueled Kuaizhou Rockets. Zhang Di, Expace’s chairman, is also a Deputy Director of the Fourth Academy of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), which makes the Kuaizhou rockets. The Kuaizhou, which is derived from the launch vehicle for Chinese anti-satellite weapons and midcourse missile defense interceptors, is a solid-fueled, 2 diameter rocket; the latest KZ-11 can loft a 1.5 ton payload to low Earth orbit at a launch cost of $10,000 per kg. Expace’s target market is to launch small satellites for domestic and foreign customers; the solid fuel of the KZ-11 also means that compared to liquid fueled rockets, it can be launched on demand.

http://www.popsci.com/chinas-private-space-industry-booms-prepares-to-compete-with-spacex-and-blue-origin

China Plans A Space Plane For Tourists

October 3, 2016

  • Go high enough in the atmosphere, and eventually you’ll reach space. That is assuming a vehicle can, somehow, carry itself there–as the atmosphere thins, traditional flight becomes difficult and then impossible. Getting to space takes a rocket, sometimes carried by an airplane, like Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, which blasts off from the underbelly of its White Knight Two transport–or it takes a rocket launch from a platform on the ground. A state-backed firm in China wants to get rid of all the extra parts, instead completing the entire process with one rocket-powered spaceplane that takes off like a rocket, and returns to earth like a shuttle. Instead of catching a ride into the upper atmosphere like SpaceShipTwo, its predecessor SpaceShipOne, or NASA’s X-15 rocket place, China’s space plane as intended will launch vertically from the ground, like the retired Space Shuttle and Buran, its Soviet clone. Two other spaceplanes, the Air Force’s mysterious unmanned X-37B robot and the unmanned version of Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser both are designed to ride to space on the top of rockets, jettisoning the booster stages as they clear gravity. (Incidentally, the United Nations recently selected Dream Chaser for its first ever space mission, designed to open space infrastructure up to countries that lack their own space programs.)

http://www.popsci.com/china-plans-space-plane-for-tourists

China developing mission to return samples from far side of the moon

September 29, 2016

  • If China’s lunar exploration program goes according to plan, scientists could send a robotic lander to pick up samples from the far side of the moon and return them to Earth by the early 2020s, a top Chinese space official said. The first of the sampling probes, Chang’e 5, will launch by the end of next year and attempt a landing at an unspecified location on the near side of the moon. Chinese engineers are simultaneously building parts for a backup mission named Chang’e 6, according to Wu Yanhua, vice administrator of the China National Space Administration.

https://spaceflightnow.com/2016/09/29/china-developing-mission-to-return-samples-from-far-side-of-the-moon/

Race to near space: Superfast flight

2016-09-27

  • Chinese aerospace researchers are pushing the limits in a new sphere – near space – which promises superfast vehicles for passengers, business and military use. Nearly half of the 24 entries in the final round of the Third National Design Contest on Future Aircraft and Space Planes, held in Beijing on Monday, had to do with flight in near space. A total of 284 entries from space institutes, universities and military research establishments across the country, took part in the competition jointly organized by the Chinese Society of Astronautics and the general design department of the Third Academy of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp.

http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2016-09/27/content_26906952.htm

China’s version of GPS ‘is now just as accurate’

26 September, 2016

  • China’s Beidou navigation system is now accurate within centimetres and on par with the US Global Positioning System (GPS), said a scientist who has been developing the technology. The system could even offer more precise positioning services than its US rival within China, but further support was needed to make GPS users switch to Beidou, navigational-systems expert Xu Ying said at a technology expo in Hong Kong on Sunday. With 23 satellites in orbit, the Beidou navigation system now covers China and some neighbouring countries. Beijing hopes to launch about 20 more satellites by 2020 for its global network.

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2022462/chinas-version-gps-now-just-accurate

China’s giant space telescope starts search for alien life

September 21, 2016

  • With a whopping 1,640 feet (500 meter) wide dish the size of 30 football fields, the telescope will able to detect radio signals — and potentially signs of life — from distant planets. “China’s latest telescope will be able to look faster and further than past searches for extraterrestrial intelligence,” says Douglas Vakoch, president of METI International, an organization dedicated to detecting alien intelligence. Cradled in a karst hollow in the mountainous landscape of southwest China, the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope, or FAST, starts operation September 25.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/21/health/china-fast-telescope-search-for-aliens/

China’s Race To Space Domination

September 20, 2016

  • After years of investment and strategy, China is well on its way to becoming a space superpower—and maybe even a dominant one. The Chang’e 4 lunar mission is just one example of its scope and ambition for turning space into an important civilian and military domain. Now, satellites guide Chinese aircraft, missiles, and drones, while watching over crop yields and foreign military bases. The growing number of missions involving Chinese rockets and taikonauts are a source of immense national pride. Such interconnectedness goes back to the beginnings of China’s rocket age and, ironically, to American soil. The man considered the father of Chinese rocketry is Qian Xuesen. A Chinese national, Qian had attended MIT in 1935, went to work on the Manhattan Project, and later became a co-founder of Caltech’s famed Jet Propulsion Laboratory. But during the Joseph McCarthy era, he was accused of being a communist sympathizer, put under house arrest for five years, and, in 1955, he returned to China. There he was greeted as a hero. He later developed China’s ballistic-missile and space-rocket programs. In fact, China still relies on the Long March rockets he helped develop to launch its space systems.

http://www.popsci.com/chinas-race-to-space-domination

China to conduct brain-computer interaction experiments on Tiangong-2

2016-09-18

  • Tiangong-2, China’s first space lab in a real sense, was successfully launched into space on Sept 15. A brain-computer interaction test system, developed by Tianjin University and installed in the lab, will conduct a series of experiments in space. The brain-computer interaction test system in Tiangong-2 boasts 64 national patents. The research team has long been devoted to the research of brain-computer interactions, previously developing two idiodynamic artificial neuron robotic systems that can help with the rehabilitation of stroke patients.

http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2016-09/18/content_26818580.htm

World’s largest single-aperture spherical telescope ready to work

2016-09-18

  • China’s single-aperture spherical telescope “FAST” is ready to begin working as the feed cabin installation has been completed in the Southwest province of Guizhou. The 30-ton feed cabin, hoisted up to 130 meters above the telescope’s reflector, is the core part of FAST.

http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2016-09/18/content_26813854.htm

Scientists caught black holes swallowing stars — and burping energy back up

September 16 2016

  • Two studies published this week — one by scientists at NASA, the other by researchers at the University of Science and Technology of China — describe these “tidal disruption flares” using data from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), a space telescope that has photographed the entire sky in infrared light. “This is the first time we have clearly seen the infrared light echoes from multiple tidal disruption events,” Sjoert van Velzen, a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University and lead author of the NASA study, said in a statement. Van Velzen’s study caught three black holes in the act of star swallowing; researchers in China documented a fourth.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2016/09/16/scientists-caught-black-holes-swallowing-stars-and-burping-energy-back-up/

China launches second space lab

15 September 2016

  • China has launched Tiangong 2, its second orbiting space lab — marking another stepping stone towards the country’s goal of building a space station by the early 2020s. The module, which launched aboard a Long March rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi desert at 22:04 local time on 15 September, will initially fly uncrewed in low-Earth orbit, but a planned second launch will carry two astronauts to it in November. Tiangong 2 (meaning ‘heavenly palace’) carries a number of scientific experiments, including an astrophysics detector that is the first space-science experiment built jointly by China with European countries.

http://www.nature.com/news/china-launches-second-space-lab-1.20611

China to launch world’s first ‘cold’ atomic clock in space … and it’ll stay accurate for a billion years

15 September, 2016

  • In contrast, the Cold Atomic Clock in Space (Cacs) recently developed by researchers in Shanghai can easily be lifted by two people and would fit comfortably in the boot of a car. But it is expected to be three times more accurate than NIST-F2, losing only a second in one billion years. China’s Beidou satellite navigation network currently provides less precise guidance than the US GPS system, but Xu said that using Cacs as a time reference in space would give a “significant boost” to Beidou’s performance. Cacs, several thousand times more accurate than the clocks used in GPS satellites, will start its journey when Tiangong-2, China’s second space laboratory, is launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in Inner Mongolia Thursday night . Other instruments on Tiangong-2, some of them world firsts, include the Gamma-ray Burst Polarimeter (Polar), capable of studying the most powerful explosions in the universe, quantum communication devices, and a “forge” to generate extremely high heat for the creation of new materials such as armour in a microgravity environment. A “bodyguard” satellite will fly around the space lab to protect it from potentially deadly collisions with space debris.

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/2019276/china-beat-us-europe-launching-worlds-first-cold-atomic-clock-space

China to launch Kuaizhou-11, new generation of quick-response rocket in 2017

September 12, 2016

  • The newest generation of China’s homegrown quick-response rocket is scheduled to enter commercial use in 2017, a scientist with a State-owned space technology enterprise disclosed on Sept. 11. To promote the commercial use of Kuaizhou rockets, CASIC Rocket Technology Co., Ltd., a commercial rocket development and launch company, was registered and established on Feb. 16 in Wuhan, Hubei province, according to Wuhan-based CSSG. Kuaizhou-1 and Kuaizhou-2 have been signed to the newly established company, Guancha reported. The company plans to develop more than 10 units of rockets, mainly targeting low-orbit small satellites, in the future.

http://en.people.cn/n3/2016/0912/c90000-9113982.html

Global satellite network planned to boost internet

2016-09-13

  • China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp, the nation’s largest missile developer, plans to build a space-based information network that will provide global coverage. “We will launch a satellite this year to demonstrate the technologies for the Hongyun Project. Before 2019, four satellites will have been put into space to conduct trial operations. The rest will follow in 2019 and 2020, ensuring that the whole network will be built before 2021,” he said at the Second China Commercial Aerospace Forumin Wuhan, Hubei province.

http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2016-09/13/content_26778463.htm

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