Space Part 3

DJI, Qianxun Partner to Promote BeiDou Navigation System Application in Drone Industry

May 01, 2017

  • Qianxun Spatial Intelligence Inc., a firm that provides location and data analysis services using the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, has announced that it is teaming up with drone maker DJI Innovation Technology Co., China Daily reported. The strategic partnership will aid in promoting the application of the BeiDou navigation system to the lucrative drone industry. Both parties consider BeiDou’s “highly accurate positioning service” as a major advantage, especially for their agricultural models (i.e., drones used to spray pesticides).

Tianzhou 1 freighter achieves China’s first in-space refueling demo

April 27, 2017

  • The robotic Tianzhou 1 refueling freighter launched last week has successfully completed the first in-orbit propellant transfer with China’s Tiangong 2 space lab, a major accomplishment as the country’s engineers hope to finish assembly of a large space station by 2022, officials said Thursday. The refueling demonstration validates key technologies China will need to assemble and maintain the nation’s planned 60-metric ton (130,000-pound) space station. The core component of the orbital complex, named Tianhe 1, could launch as soon as next year, followed by two more research modules by 2022.

China Talking With European Space Agency About Moon Outpost

April 26, 2017

  • Representatives of China and the European Space Agency are discussing potential collaboration on a human outpost on the moon and other possible joint endeavors, according to a spokesman for the European agency and Chinese media reports. The secretary general for China’s space agency, Tian Yulong, first disclosed the talks about the envisioned lunar base in Chinese state media. They were confirmed Wednesday by Pal Hvistendahl, a spokesman for the European Space Agency, or ESA.

Chinese space scientists study human organs in space

Apr 23, 2017

  • Scientists around the world are looking for the “keys” to enable humans to regrow tissues or organs lost due to illness or injury, just like gecko can regrow a tail. Their quest now extends into space. Stem cell research on Tianzhou-1, China’s first cargo spacecraft, is far from realizing this dream, but it’s the first step to explore the possibility. Scientists from the Institute of Zoology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) are conducting experiments on Tianzhou-1, which launched Thursday, to study the effects of micro-gravity on embryonic stem cell proliferation and differentiation.

China’s highest-capacity communications satellite launched into orbit

April 12, 2017

  • A Chinese Long March 3B rocket fired into space Wednesday with Shijian 13, also known as Chinasat 16, to deliver Internet connectivity to remote parts of China, airline travelers and high-speed trains. The Shijian 13 satellite also has an experimental mission to test laser communications technology and electric thrusters to maintain its position in geostationary orbit.

Mysterious cosmic explosion surprises astronomers studying the distant x-ray universe

Mar 31, 2017

  • The X-ray source was originally discovered in October 2014 (“Discovery of a fast X-ray transient in the Chandra Deep Field-South survey”) by Bin Luo, a Penn State postdoctoral researcher; Niel Brandt, the Verne M. Willaman Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics and professor of physics at Penn State; and Franz Bauer, an associate professor of astrophysics at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile in Santiago, Chile. Luo has since moved from Brandt’s group to become a professor of astronomy and space science at Nanjing University in China, and Bauer had been a postdoctoral researcher in Brandt’s group from 2000 to 2003. The data were gathered using the Advanced CCD Imaging Spectrometer on Chandra, an instrument conceived and designed by a team led by Penn State Evan Pugh Professor Emeritus of Astronomy and Astrophysics Gordon Garmire.

China’s BeiDou system to expand cooperation to SE Asia


  • China’s home-grown BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) will expand its cooperation to Thailand and Sri Lanka, and then to the entire Southeast Asia, in a bid to go global, the system’s operator has said. Du Li, general manager of Wuhan Optics Valley BeiDou Holding Group Co., told Xinhua recently that his company will continue to explore models for international scientific and technical cooperation on BDS, including the joint construction of base stations, joint technical development and research, personnel training and exchanges, and others.

China announces funding for 80 space research projects

March 30, 2017

  • China’s National Space Science Center will fund 80 projects to answer “cutting-edge scientific problems,” including the origin of our solar system. CGTN’s Elaine Reyes explains how this fits in with the country’s broader space exploration and research plans.

State-owned aerospace giant plans to launch 156 minisatellites


  • State-owned China Aerospace Science & Industry Corporation (CASIC) have announced plans for a network of 156 mini-satellites to facilitate global broadband coverage. This is the first low orbiting, networked satellite project, which will orbit 1,000 km above the ground, developed by China amid its wider push for commercial space development, according to CASIC.

China could triple space science spending and has several startup rocket companies as well

March 30, 2017

  • In the past year a number of Chinese space launch start-ups have emerged, largely with the backing of universities and hedge funds. Two-year-old OneSpace is developing a 59-ton launch vehicle that it plans to launch for the first time in 2018. ExPace, founded early last year, plans to market its solid-fueled Kuaizhou rocket to those looking to loft small satellites into orbit. Likewise, Landspace — launched in 2015 — claims it will conduct its first commercial launch this year.

China’s secret plan to crush SpaceX and the US space program

28 Mar 2017

  • Prior to 2003 China — whose space program dates back to the 1950s — had never put an astronaut (a “taikonaut” in Chinese nomenclature) into orbit. In the years since, it has moved rapidly toward parity with space powers like Russia and the United States. In 2016, China launched more rockets than Russia for the first time, equaling the 22 rockets launched by the United States. Included among those missions was Shenzou 11, which carried a crew of two to dock with China’s Tiangong-2 spacecraft, a temporary orbiting space habitat serving as a stepping stone for a larger, permanent Chinese space station in the early 2020s.

Chinese scientists breed world’s first ‘space mangoes’


  • The embryonic cells of the mango brought back by manned spacecraft Shenzhou XI last November after the 33-day space mission have now grown new tissues at a lab in South China’s Hainan province. These cells were developed under an experiment designed to cultivate a new variety of mango through environmental mutation in space.

China starts building huge cosmic-ray observatory to study the evolution of the universe


  • China has started the construction of one of the world’s largest and most sensitive cosmic-ray facilities. Located about 4,410 meters above sea level in the mountainous areas in Southwest China’s Sichuan province, the 1.2 billion yuan ($180m) Large High Altitude Air Shower Observatory (LHAASO) will attempt to search for the origin of high energy cosmic rays, to study the evolution of the universe and high energy celestial bodies, as well as to push forward the frontier of new physics.

Gargantuan Chinese Radio Telescope Stars in ‘Impossible Engineering’ Clip

March 13, 2017

  • A new clip from Science Channel’s “Impossible Engineering” highlights the astonishingly large Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST) in China. The 500 m (1,650 feet) dish is the world’s largest single-aperture telescope — the dish is the size of 30 football fields — and its scale is dramatically evident in the video clip. “Impossible Engineering” devotes the first episode of its third season, airing March 30 at 9 p.m. (EDT and PDT), to how the massive telescope was built.

BeiDou navigates its way to global stage


  • The go-global strategy is part of China’s broad plan to build a BeiDou navigation system with a constellation of 35 satellites by 2020. In comparison, GPS consists of 24 satellites. “China is supporting BeiDou’s exports roughly the same way it supports exports of high-speed railway products and technologies. BeiDou will become another high-tech name card for China,” Miao said.

China’s Space Station: Tianhe-1 module to be followed by Tianzhou-2, Shenzhou-12


  • The outline for China’s next steps in human spaceflight and space station construction have been announced by a senior official at the main contractor for the country’s space programme. The core module of the Chinese Space Station, Tianhe-1, will be launched in 2018, says Zhang Bainan, chief designer of crewed spacecraft at the China Aerospace Science and Technology Cooperation (CASC).

China’s new spaceship to rival the best in the world


  • China is making a new-generation manned spaceship which rivals that of world-leading space powers, a space mission expert said. “Among the next generation of manned spaceships some foreign countries are developing, only the Orion spacecraft of the US can carry out a moon landing mission,” Zhang Bainan, a spaceship engineer with China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, told Science and Technology Daily on Tuesday.

China to develop space rockets to launch from planes

07 March, 2017

  • China will develop rockets that can be launched into space from aircraft, a senior official told the state-run China Daily newspaper, as Beijing aims to send hundreds of satellites into orbit for military, commercial and scientific aims. The China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology has designed a solid-fuel rocket that could carry a 100kg payload into low Earth orbit, said Li Tongyu, the head of the agency’s carrier rocket development.

Experimental Tiankun-1 lofted during secretive KT-2 launch

March 3, 2017

  • China orbited a small experimental satellite called Tiankun-1 (TK-1), utilizing the Kaituozhe-2 (KT-2) rocket, new launch vehicle. Launched at 23:45 UTC on Thursday from the Jiuquan Launch Center, the new launcher is the latest in a series of solid launcher fueled rockets developed by China that debuted during recent months.

China releases first images from Fengyun-4A geostationary weather satellite


  • China has released the first set of images and data from its new generation Fengyun-4A geostationary weather satellite. The releases demonstrate the functioning of the satellite’s radiometer, atmospheric detector, lightning imager and space environment monitor, operating around 36,000 km above the Earth.

China to launch new Long March 8 rocket by end of 2018


  • China is aiming to launch a new Long March 8 rocket by the end of 2018 to fill a gap in the country’s carrier rocket capabilities and commercial launch prospects, a top space official has said. Li Tongyu, chief of carrier rocket development at the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT), told China Daily that the Long March 8 will use engines and other design aspects developed for the recently debuted Long March 5 and Long March 7 rockets.

China’s space science centre is assessing proposals for new cutting edge missions


  • China’s National Space Science Center (NSSC) is assessing more than 130 proposals for future innovative space science missions following a nationwide call. “We wanted to collect proposals that may overturn a theory, or discover something that has never been found. What we need are new ideas — innovative ideas that are significant for science,” said Wu Ji, the Director General of NSSC.

Chinese space industry pioneer Ren Xinmin dies at 102


  • Ren Xinmin, a renowned expert on missile and rocket technologies and chief designer of China’s first satellite, has died aged 102. Ren was born in Ningguo, east China’s Anhui province in 1915 and graduated from a military university in Chongqing in 1940.

Tianzhou-1: China to launch its first space station resupply craft in April


  • China is set to launch the first test of its Tianzhou-1 cargo and resupply spacecraft in April, in what will be a crucial test of key technologies needed for the country’s future space station. The 13-tonne Tianzhou-1 will be launched by a new Long March 7 rocket from Wenchang in April, and dock soon after with the orbiting Tiangong-2 space lab 390 kilometres above the Earth.