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Full Text: China's Space Activities in 2011 (4)

12-29-2011 11:36 BJT Special Report:China Issues White Paper on Space Exploration |

4. Deep-space Exploration

On October 24, 2007, China successfully launched its first lunar probe, Chang'e-1, and achieved its objectives of "accurate orbital transfer and successful orbiting," also retrieving a great deal of scientific data and a complete map of the moon, and successfully implementing a controlled crash onto the lunar surface. The success of Chang'e-1 was another milestone for China's space industry, after man-made satellites and human spaceflight, signifying that China has become one of the countries capable of deep-space exploration.

On October 1, 2010, China successfully launched its second lunar probe, Chang'e-2, created a full higher-resolution map of the moon, and a high-definition image of Sinus Iridium, and completed several extended tests, including circling the Lagrangian Point L2, which laid the foundation for future deep-space exploration tasks.

5. Space Launch Sites

China has improved its three existing launch sites in Jiuquan, Xichang and Taiyuan, enhancing their comprehensive test capabilities and high-intensity launching capabilities. These sites have successfully launched manned spaceship, lunar probes and a variety of satellites. At present, China is building a new space launch site in Hainan to accommodate the launch of new-generation launch vehicles.

6. Space Telemetry, Tracking and Command (TT&C)

China has improved its TT&C ground stations and ships, and has established a very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) network comprising four observation stations and a data processing center, indicating that China has acquired space-based TT&C capabilities; it has also established a multi-functioning TT&C network featuring space and ground integration, complete sets of equipment and ability to complete various tasks. At present, China's TT&C network is expanding from the ground to space, and from geospace TT&C to deep-space TT&C. The network is able to not only satisfy satellite TT&C demands, but also support human spaceflight and deep-space exploration.

7. Space Applications

1) Applications of Earth observation satellites

The fields and scope in which Earth observation satellites are used have been constantly expanding; these satellites' capabilities in providing business services have also been growing and an Earth observation satellite application system has initially taken shape. China has built four new satellite data-receiving stations, enhancing its ability to receive data from meteorological, ocean and land observation satellites. China has also established, based on comprehensive planning, the ground data processing system for Earth observation satellites, extending its ability in centralized data processing, data archiving, data distribution and services provision. China has established centers for environmental satellite application, satellite disaster-relief application, satellite mapping application and other application institutes for Earth observation satellites, promoting the spread and utility of Earth observation satellite data. China has improved calibration services of remote-sensing satellite radiation calibration fields, enhancing the quantitative application level of Earth observation satellites.

Today, Earth observation satellite data has been widely used in various fields for economic and social development. Fengyun satellites have effectively monitored typhoons, floods, forest and grassland fires, droughts, sandstorms and other natural disasters; their weather forecasting and climate change monitoring capabilities have also been enhanced remarkably. The ocean satellite series have monitored China's maritime territory and the world's key waters, and their forecasting accuracy for sea ice, ocean temperatures and wind fields have increased greatly, and their time efficiency in monitoring dangerous sea conditions has also been notably enhanced. The resource satellite series have played an important role in efforts to investigate, monitor and manage the resources of land, minerals, agriculture, forestry, and water conservancy, as well as geological disasters and city planning. Remote-sensing and Tianhui satellites have played an important role in scientific experiments, land censuses, mapping and other fields. The small satellites for environmental and disaster monitoring and forecasting have provided critical technical support for surface water quality and atmospheric environmental monitoring, major pollution events addressing, and major natural disaster monitoring, assessment and relief.

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

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