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China satellite technology soars ahead

Space remains the ‘final frontier’ for our world and Beijing is exploring new ways to journey beyond Earth’s boundaries. Yet in addition to a spirit of adventure, jetting off into orbit has led to major advances for science and technology. Consequently, Chinese companies are boosting investments and R&D (Research & Development) support for the satellite technology industry.

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) is leading the space program in the country and has signed agreements with other countries to share technologies and information. In recent years, Beijing has made remarkable progress in the ‘space race.’ Currently, more than 130 China-made spacecraft and satellites are in orbit. CNSA recognizes that its team must rely on cooperation from abroad in order to flourish.

Belgium joins China for Earth Observation mission

Beijing and Brussels approved last week a MOU (memorandum of understanding) for joint collaboration on satellite technology that could place both nations “at the forefront” to deliver vital information worldwide, as revealed by Belgian State Secretary of Science Policy Elke Sleurs. The document was signed by the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office (BELSPO) and CNSA to support space sciences, technologies and applications.

The key project would be the Earth Observation program, a satellite mission. Space agencies from both nations plan to design and build a satellite with the full capacity to deliver exclusive agriculture and environmental information to the rest of the world.

“We have been building on the scientific cooperation between Belgium and Chinese scientists over the past few years, especially in the fields of the application of Earth observation data for environmental monitoring,” Sleurs told Xinhua news agency. “The idea grew to also involve technological and industrial partners in the cooperation.”

New advances for a new space age

Through collaboration of rocket scientists from around the globe, China is making tremendous advances on space propulsion technology. CNSA hopes to launch a communications satellite that utilizes electric propulsion, according to the China Topix Website.

Wang Min, a satellite designer from the Chinese space academy, explained that using such technology can cut in half the energy requirements for a space launch, while reducing the costs of launching a satellite into space by 30 percent.

Meanwhile, there is even bigger news in regards to recent advancements in space technology. Wang Feixue, director of the Center for Satellite Navigation and Positioning Technology, has been leading China’s Beidou Satellite System, a team of 300 scientists, to enhance global satellite coverage by 2020.

“The Beidou global system will focus on upgrading precision and expanding its application in the Asia-Pacific region,” Wang told the China Daily. He described how Beidou would be a much more advanced version of GPS (Global Positioning System), which can pinpoint an object on Earth from satellite imagery within 1.5 meters at a given point, instead of the current range of 10 meters.

Nigeria goes to orbit with China

Nigerian scientists are also pursuing opportunities to work with China to jumpstart its satellite communications technology development. Abimbola Alale, managing director of the Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSat), and China’s ambassador to Nigeria Gu Xiaojie have pledged further support for bilateral scientific collaboration.

Space technology experts from China’s Great Wall Corporation will be assigned to work inside Nig ComSat facilities in Abija, as reported by AllAfrica news Website. The NigComSat is scheduled to be the first satellite station to be launched by China in the African continent.

Global values bridging China’s space dreams

Beijing is poised to stand “at the forefront” as a world leader for the future of satellite communications technology, but Chinese scientists cannot achieve success alone. They need the assistance of scientists from all over the globe. Accordingly, CNSA is taking a proactive approach by signing cooperation agreements with space agencies from other countries. Such collaboration would provide a more innovative attitude as the Chinese Dream is skyrocketing into space.