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Full text: China's Space Program: A 2021 Perspective

White Paper
The State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China published a white paper titled "China's Space Program: A 2021 Perspective" on Friday.

XinhuaUpdated:  January 28, 2022

VI. International Cooperation

Peaceful exploration, development and utilization of outer space are rights equally enjoyed by all countries. China calls on all countries to work together to build a global community of shared future and carry out in-depth exchanges and cooperation in outer space on the basis of equality, mutual benefit, peaceful utilization, and inclusive development.

1. Basic Policies

China's basic policies on international exchanges and cooperation are as follows:

· Safeguarding the central role of the United Nations in managing outer space affairs; abiding by the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies; upholding the guiding role of relevant UN principles, declarations and resolutions; actively participating in the formulation of international rules regarding outer space; and promoting greater sustainability of space activities;

· Strengthening international exchanges and cooperation on space science, technology and application; working together with the international community to provide public products and services; and contributing to global efforts to address common challenges;

· Strengthening international space cooperation that is based on common goals and serves the Belt and Road Initiative, and ensuring that the space industry benefits the Initiative's participating countries, especially developing countries;

· Supporting the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO) to play an important role, and giving weight to cooperation under the BRICS and Group 20 mechanisms and within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization;

· Encouraging and endorsing the efforts of domestic research institutes, enterprises, institutions of higher learning, and social organizations to engage in international space exchanges and cooperation in diverse forms and at various levels in accordance with relevant policies, laws and regulations.

2. Major Achievements

Since 2016, China has signed 46 space cooperation agreements or memoranda of understanding with 19 countries and regions and four international organizations. It has actively promoted global governance of outer space, and carried out international cooperation in space science, technology and application through bilateral and multilateral mechanisms. These measures have yielded fruitful results.

(1) Global governance of outer space

· China participates in consultations on issues such as the long-term sustainability of outer space activities, the development and utilization of space resources, and the prevention of arms race in outer space. Together with other parties, it has proposed discussions on space exploration and innovation, and advanced the Space2030 Agenda of the UN.

· China supports the work of the Beijing office of the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response, and has participated in the activities of the International Committee on Global Navigation Satellite Systems in an in-depth manner. It has joined international mechanisms such as the Space Missions Planning Advisory Group and the International Asteroid Warning Network.

· China plays its role as the host country of APSCO, and supports the organization's Development Vision 2030.

· China has strengthened international exchanges on space debris, long-term sustainability of outer space activities, and other issues through mechanisms such as the Space Debris Work Group of China-Russia Space Cooperation Sub-committee and the Sino-US Expert Workshop on Space Debris and Space Flight Safety.

· China supports the activities of international organizations such as the International Telecommunication Union, Group on Earth Observations, Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee, Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems, International Space Exploration Coordination Group, and the Interagency Operations Advisory Group.

(2) Manned spaceflight

· China has carried out gamma-ray burst polarization monitoring research with the European Space Agency on the Tiangong-2 space laboratory, conducted human body medical research in a micro-gravitational environment with France during the Shenzhou-11 manned spaceflight mission, carried out joint CAVES training and maritime rescue drills with the European Astronaut Centre.

· China has completed the selection of the first batch of international space science experiments to be conducted on the Chinese space station, and conducted technological cooperation and exchanges with Germany, Italy and Russia on space science experiments and the development of space station sections.

(3) BeiDou Navigation Satellite System

· China has coordinated the development of China's BeiDou Navigation Satellite System and the United States' Global Positioning System, Russia's GLONASS system, and Europe's Galileo system. It has carried out in-depth cooperation with them in the fields of compatibility, interoperability, monitoring and assessment, and joint application.

· China has pressed ahead with international standardization of the BeiDou system, which has been included in the standard systems of the International Electrotechnical Commission and many other international organizations in fields such as civil aviation, maritime affairs, international search and rescue, and mobile communications.

· China has increased the BeiDou system's global service capacity by establishing BeiDou cooperation forum mechanisms with the League of Arab States and the African Union, completing the first overseas BeiDou center in Tunisia, and conducting satellite navigation cooperation with countries such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, South Africa, Algeria, and Thailand.

(4) Deep-space exploration

· China launched the international lunar research station project together with Russia, and initiated the Sino-Russian Joint Data Center for Lunar and Deep-space Exploration. It is working with Russia to coordinate Chang'e-7's lunar polar exploration mission with Russia's LUNA-Resource-1 orbiter mission.

· In the Chang'e-4 lunar exploration mission China cooperated with Russia and the European Space Agency on engineering technology, and with Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and Saudi Arabia on payloads. It has launched international onboard payload cooperation in the Chang'e-6 lunar exploration mission.

· In the Tianwen-1 mission, China's first Mars exploration project, China cooperated with the European Space Agency on engineering technology, and with Austria and France on payloads. It has established a Mars probe orbit data exchange mechanism with the United States, and launched international onboard payload cooperation in its asteroid exploration mission.

· In the fields of lunar and deep-space exploration, China cooperated on TT&C with the European Space Agency, Argentina, Namibia, and Pakistan.

(5) Space technology

· Together with relevant partners China has developed and successfully launched the China-France Oceanography Satellite, China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite 04A, and the Ethiopian Remote-Sensing Satellite. It has launched the Student Small Satellites (SSS) for APSCO. It is jointly developing the MisrSat-2 remote-sensing satellite.

· China completed the in-orbit delivery of the Pakistan Remote-Sensing Satellite (PRSS-1), Venezuelan Remote-Sensing Satellite (VRSS-2), Sudan Remote-Sensing Satellite (SRSS-1), and the Algerian Communications Satellite (Alcomsat-1).

· China has provided satellite carrying or launching services for countries including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and Luxembourg.

· China has conducted space product and technology cooperation with countries including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Argentina, Pakistan, and Nigeria.

· China has helped developing countries boost their space science and research. It has built satellite research and development infrastructure with countries including Egypt, Pakistan and Nigeria. It has pressed ahead with the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative Space Information Corridor, and opened China's space facilities to developing countries.

(6) Space applications

· China has established an emergency support mechanism for disaster prevention and mitigation for international users of the Fengyun meteorological satellites, and data from China's meteorological satellites have been widely used in 121 countries and regions.

· China has signed cooperation agreements for the BRICS Remote-Sensing Satellite Constellation, cooperated with the European Space Agency on earth observation satellite data exchange, and built the China-ASEAN Satellite Information Offshore Service Platform and the Remote-Sensing Satellite Data-Sharing Service Platform. It has worked with Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Myanmar to build the Lancang-Mekong Space Information Exchange Center.

· China has built satellite data receiving stations with countries including Bolivia, Indonesia, Namibia, Thailand and South Africa.

· China actively participates in the mechanism of the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters, providing satellite remote-sensing data totaling 800 scenes and adding eight new on-duty satellites (constellations) to the satellite system, thereby improving the international community's capacity for disaster prevention and mitigation.

· China actively provides satellite emergency monitoring services. It has initiated emergency monitoring in response to 17 major disasters in 15 countries. For instance, in response to the severe drought in Afghanistan and the dam collapse in Laos in 2018, and to the cyclone that struck Mozambique in 2019, it provided monitoring services for the authorities of affected countries.

· China released its GEO Strategic Plan 2016-2025: Implementing GEOSS. It served as the rotating chair of the Group on Earth Observations in 2020 and promoted the construction of a global earth observation system.

· China participates in the international Space Climate Observatory platform, promoting China's best practices in space technology to address climate change, and facilitating international cooperation on space climate observation.

(7) Space science

· Using science satellites including Wukong, Mozi, Shijian-10, and Insight, China has conducted joint scientific research and experiments with countries including Switzerland, Italy, Austria, the United Kingdom, and Japan.

· China co-developed and successfully launched the China-Italy Electromagnetic Monitoring Experiment Satellite. It has continued the joint development of the Sino-European Panoramic Imaging Satellite for Solar Wind and Magnetosphere Interaction, Sino-French Astronomic Satellite, and China-Italy Electromagnetic Monitoring Experiment Satellite 02. It has joined countries including Italy and Germany in developing and calibrating the payloads of satellites such as the advanced space-based solar observatory, Einstein Probe, and enhanced X-ray timing and polarimetry observatory.

· Using the China-Brazil Joint Laboratory for Space Weather, it co-built the space environment monitoring and research platform for South America.

(8) Personnel and academic exchanges

· China has taken part in the activities organized by the International Astronautical Federation, International Committee on Space Research, International Academy of Astronautics, and International Institute of Space Law. It has hosted the 2017 Global Space Exploration Conference, the 13th Meeting of the International Committee on Global Navigation Satellite Systems, the United Nations/China Forum on Space Solutions: Realizing the Sustainable Development Goals, the Wenchang International Aviation and Aerospace Forum, the Zhuhai Forum, the International Summit on BDS Applications, and the Fengyun Satellite User Conference.

· China has helped developing countries train professionals. Through the Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific (China) (Affiliated to the United Nations), it has trained almost 1,000 space-industry professionals for more than 60 countries, and established the "Belt and Road" Aerospace Innovation Alliance and the Association of Sino-Russian Technical Universities. It has also promoted personnel exchanges in remote-sensing and navigation technology through the International Training Program and other channels.

· China has promoted scientific and technological exchanges in the fields of space science, remote sensing and navigation through the China-Europe Space Science Bilateral Meeting, the China-EU-ESA Dialogue on Space Technology Cooperation, and the Dragon Programme - a joint undertaking between ESA and the Ministry of Science and Technology of China.

3. Key Areas for Future Cooperation

In the next five years China will be more open and active in broadening bilateral and multilateral cooperation mechanisms, and will engage in extensive international exchanges and cooperation in the following key areas:

(1) Global governance of outer space

· Under the framework of the United Nations, China will actively participate in formulating international rules regarding outer space, and will work together with other countries to address the challenges in ensuring long-term sustainability of outer space activities.

· China will actively participate in discussions on international issues and the development of relevant mechanisms, such as those in the fields of space environment governance, near-earth objects monitoring and response, planet protection, space traffic management, and the development and utilization of space resources.

· China will cooperate in space environment governance, improve the efficiency of space crisis management and comprehensive governance, conduct dialogue with Russia, the United States and other countries as well as relevant international organizations on outer space governance, and actively support the construction of APSCO's space science observatory.

(2) Manned spaceflight

· China will employ its space station to conduct space-based astronomical observations, earth science and research, and space science experiments under conditions of microgravity.

· China will promote more extensive international cooperation in astronaut selection and training, joint flights and other fields.

(3) BeiDou Navigation Satellite System

· China will continue to participate in the activities of the UN's International Committee on Global Navigation Satellite Systems and promote the establishment of a fair and reasonable satellite navigation order.

· China will actively improve compatibility and interoperability of global satellite navigation systems such as the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System and other such systems as well as satellite-based augmentation systems.

· China will prioritize cooperation and exchanges, and share with others mature solutions, on the application of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, thereby boosting the socio-economic development of partner countries.

(4) Deep-space exploration

· China will advance cooperation on the international lunar research station project. It welcomes international partners to participate in the research and construction of the station at any stage and level of the mission.

· It will expand cooperation in the fields of asteroid and interplanetary exploration.

(5) Space technology

· China will support cooperation on satellite engineering and technology. It will complete the joint research and development of MisrSat-2, and launch the SVOM (Space-based multiband astronomical Variable Objects Monitor), and the China-Italy Electromagnetic Monitoring Experiment Satellite 02. It will press ahead with follow-up cooperation in the China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellites program.

· China will engage in cooperation on space TT&C support. It will continue to cooperate with the European Space Agency in the field of TT&C support, and further advance the building of ground station networks.

· China will support international cooperation on commercial spaceflight, including:

(a) launching services;

(b) technical cooperation on whole satellites, on sub-systems, spare parts, and electronic components of satellites and launch vehicles, on ground facilities and equipment, and on other related items.

It will give priority to developing communications satellites for Pakistan and to cooperating on the construction of the Pakistan Space Center and Egypt's Space City.

(6) Space applications

· China will promote global application of data from Chinese meteorological satellites, support the provision of data from the China-France Oceanography Satellite to the World Meteorological Organization, and promote global sharing and scientific application of the data obtained by Zhangheng-1, China's seismo-electromagnetic satellite.

· China will press ahead with the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative Space Information Corridor, and strengthen cooperation on the application of remote-sensing, navigation, and communications satellites.

· China will press ahead with the construction of the data-sharing service platform of APSCO.

· China will advance the construction and application of the BRICS remote-sensing satellite constellation.

· China will participate in the construction and use of the Space Climate Observatory.

(7) Space science

· By means of the deep-space exploration project, and using extraterrestrial samples and exploration data, China will conduct joint research in fields such as the space environment and planetary origin and evolution. Through the United Nations scientific data obtained by the Chang'e 4 satellite will be made available to the international community.

· China will boost joint R&D on space science satellites and research subjects such as dark matter particles, solar burst activities and their influence, and spatial gravitational wave.

(8) Personnel and academic exchanges

· China will conduct personnel exchanges and training in the space industry.

· China will hold high-level international academic exchange conferences and forums.

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