China Displays Its Mature Anti-satellite Capabilities


Long March-7 rocket carrying Tianzhou-1 cargo spacecraft lifts off from the launching pad in Wenchang, Hainan province, China April 20, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer

In our space era, satellites are indispensable in war; therefore anti-satellite (ASAT) and anti-ASAT capabilities are vital to China’s national security.

The successful unmanned docking of China’s cargo spacecraft with its orbiting space laboratory Tiangong-2 displays China’s mature ASAT capabilities. It shows that China can send an anti-satellite spaceship accurately to an enemy satellite and neutralize it. The space ship may carry 6 tons of equipment and remain in space for 3 months with 2 tons of fuel. In a war, it will thus be able to keep on neutralizing enemy old and new satellites for at least 3 months.

Reuters says in its report yesterday on China’s cargo spacecraft titled “China’s first cargo spacecraft docks with orbiting space lab”, “Despite the advances in China’s space program for military, commercial and scientific purposes, China still lags behind the United States and Russia.” However, as long as China has caught up with and even surpassed the US in ASAT and anti-ASAT capabilities in its space technology, it has achieved its essential goal in developing space technology for its national security.

With such technology, the US has to think twice before attacking China.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which is reblogged below:

China’s first cargo spacecraft docks with orbiting space lab

China’s first cargo spacecraft docked successfully with the Tiangong-2 space lab on Saturday, the official Xinhua news agency reported, marking a major step toward Beijing’s goal of establishing a permanently manned space station by 2022.

President Xi Jinping has prioritised advancing China’s space program to strengthen national security.

The Tianzhou-1 cargo resupply spacecraft made the automated docking process with the orbiting space lab after it had taken off on Thursday evening from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Centre in the southern island province of Hainan.

The Tiangong-2 space laboratory, or “Heavenly Palace 2”, was home to two astronauts for a month last October in China’s longest ever manned space mission.

The cargo spacecraft mission provides an “important technological basis” to build a Chinese space station, state media have said. It can reportedly carry 6 tonnes of goods, 2 tonnes of fuel and can fly unmanned for three months.

Despite the advances in China’s space program for military, commercial and scientific purposes, China still lags behind the United States and Russia.

In late 2013, China’s Jade Rabbit rover landed on the Moon to great national fanfare, but ran into severe technical difficulties.

The U.S. Defense Department has highlighted China’s increasing space capabilities, saying it was pursuing activities aimed at preventing other nations from using space-based assets in a crisis.

China insists it has only peaceful ambitions in space, but has tested anti-satellite missiles.

(Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)


China launches first cargo spacecraft as part of space station goal


Long March-7 rocket and Tianzhou-1 cargo spacecraft are seen as they are transferred to a launching spot in Wenchang, Hainan province, China, April 17, 2017. China Daily/via REUTERS

China launched its first cargo spacecraft on Thursday, taking another step towards its goal of establishing a permanently manned space station by 2022.

President Xi Jinping has prioritized advancing China’s space program to strengthen national security.

The Tianzhou-1 cargo resupply spacecraft lifted off early evening on a Long March-7 Y2 rocket from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Centre in the southern island province of Hainan.

State television broadcast the launch live.

The spacecraft is designed to dock with the Tiangong 2 space laboratory, or “Heavenly Palace 2”, where two astronauts spent a month last October in China’s longest ever manned space mission.

The cargo spacecraft mission will provide an “important technological basis” for the construction of China’s space station, according to state media.

The spacecraft can carry 6 tonnes of goods, 2 tonnes of fuel and can fly unmanned for three months, state media said.

Despite the advances in its space program for military, commercial and scientific purposes, China still lags behind the United States and Russia.

In late 2013, China’s Jade Rabbit rover landed on the Moon to great national fanfare, but ran into severe technical difficulties.

The U.S. Defense Department has highlighted China’s increasing space capabilities, saying it was pursuing activities aimed at preventing other nations from using space-based assets in a crisis.

China insists it has only peaceful ambitions in space, but has tested anti-satellite missiles.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Source: Reuters “China launches first cargo spacecraft as part of space station goal”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


China says space program must help protect national security


China’s space program must help protect the country’s national security, but China is dedicated to the peaceful use of space and opposes a space arms race, the government said in a policy paper issued on Tuesday.

President Xi Jinping has called for China to establish itself as a space power, and it has tested anti-satellite missiles, in addition to its civilian aims

China has repeatedly said its space program is for peaceful purposes, but the U.S. Defense Department has highlighted its increasing capabilities, saying it was pursuing activities aimed to prevent adversaries from using space-based assets in a crisis.

In its policy paper, the government said the space program was an important part of the country’s overall development strategy.

“China always adheres to the principle of the use of outer space for peaceful purposes, and opposes the weaponisation of or an arms race in outer space,” it said.

The program must also “meet the demands of economic, scientific and technological development, national security and social progress”, the paper added, without elaborating on the security part.

However it included past weapons tests as part of the history of its space program, in which the military has all along been deeply involved with.

“Over the past 60 years of remarkable development since its space industry was established in 1956, China has made great achievements in this sphere, including the development of atomic and hydrogen bombs, missiles, man-made satellites, manned spaceflight and lunar probes,” it said.

China completed its longest manned space mission to date last month, when two astronauts spent 30 days aboard the Tiangong 2 space laboratory, or “Heavenly Palace 2”, which China is using to carry out experiments ahead of a longer-range plan to have a permanent manned space station around 2022.

The white paper also repeated a plan to launch its first Mars probe by 2020 and to land the first probe ever on the dark side of the moon in 2018, but gave no details about a previously mooted goal of landing a Chinese person on the moon by 2036.

(Reporting by Cate Cadell; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Michael Perry)

Source: Reuters “China says space program must help protect national security”

Note: This is Reuters report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


The Conundrum of China’s Fast Development of Space Technology


A screenshot from CCTV shows the parachute deployed above the Shenzhou-11 landing craft. Photo: SCMP Pictures

A screenshot from CCTV shows the parachute deployed above the Shenzhou-11 landing craft. Photo: SCMP Pictures

Technicians examine the Shenzhou-11 re-entry capsule in Inner Mongolia on Friday. Photo: Xinhua

Technicians examine the Shenzhou-11 re-entry capsule in Inner Mongolia on Friday. Photo: Xinhua

The astronauts are shown inside the landing pod. Photo: SCMP Pictures

The astronauts are shown inside the landing pod. Photo: SCMP Pictures

We have news that two Chinese astronauts safely returned to earth after one-month stay at China’s space laboratory Tiangong-2.

Reuters says in its report on the event titled “China’s Shenzhou 11 manned space capsule returns to Earth” on Nov. 18, “The two astronauts, Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong, spent 30 days aboard the Tiangong 2 space laboratory, or ‘Heavenly Palace 2’, which China is using to carry out experiments ahead of a longer-range plan to have a permanent manned space station around 2022.”

China has the ambition to establish itself as a space power as President Xi Jinping has called for the country to do so. Reuters says, “China will launch a ‘core module’ for its first space station some time around 2018, a senior official said in April, part of a plan for a permanent manned space station in service around 2022.”

In its report “Touchdown for Chinese astronauts after record space mission”, SCMP says that Australia-based space analyst Morris Jones was surprised by China’s progress on hardware. According to him the main challenge was to ensure the Shenzhou-11 spacecraft was able to function for more than a month in orbit.

According to Morris Jones, Shenzhou-11 was subject to the hazards of space in the month it remained docked with Tiangong-2 for the astronauts to use it to travel back to earth.

SCMP quotes him as saying,“Temperature shifts. Micrometeoroid bombardments. Mechanical wear. Small differences in performance that don’t have major effects with equipment on earth can have major effects on spacecraft.”

For a space station, China needs to have a spacecraft to stay docked with the station for a long time for transport of astronauts; therefore, the safety of the spacecraft is essential. China has made progress in that respect by enabling Shenzhou-11 to stay for one month in Tiangong-2.

It is interesting that in 2007, China wanted to participate in the International Space Station (ISS) but was rejected by the US for fear that China may learn space technology from the US through the participation.

In order to further prevent China from learning from US space technology, in April 2011, the 112th United States Congress banned NASA from engaging in bilateral agreements and coordination with China. Public Law 112-55, SEC. 539 says:

None of the funds made available by this Act may be used for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) or the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to develop, design, plan, promulgate, implement, or execute a bilateral policy, program, order, or contract of any kind to participate, collaborate, or coordinate bilaterally in any way with China.

— Public Law 112-55, SEC. 539

When the US rejects China’s participation in ISS and adopted the law to prevent China from learning space technology from the US, it believes that China will thus be kept lagging decades behind the US in space technology. Now, only a decade after the adoption of the legislation to contain China in space, China will soon have its own space station while the ISS will soon retire, leaving the US without access to space station as it lacks fund to build a new one.

For the US, China’s fast development of space strategy is now a conundrum, something undesirable and unthinkable and something unbelievable but Americans have to believe to be true.

In fact, it’s a conundrum only to those who do not know Chinese culture. There is a well-known Chinese saying:

Scholar Can Be Killed But Not Insulted

Here “scholar” means Shi (士in Chinese). Shi is a Chinese word standing for not only scholars but also wise self-educated workers and peasants, talented military commanders, kung fu masters, chivalrous swordsmen, etc. It is translated as scholars because scholars are the major part of shi and there is no equivalent term in English. Scholars may sometimes keep a low profile, but even kings do not dare to insult them. Why? Because you do not know what a shi is able to do in revenge. Therefore, it is better for a sovereign to kill him instead of insulting him.

There were quite a few stories of scholars’ sensational revenges including the whipping of a king’s copse and the assassination of an emperor.

Wang Xiaomo’s Revenge in Making World Best AEW&C Planes

China had been developing early warning aircraft since early 1960s without much success. By 1990s, China’s top radar scientist Wang Xiaomo finally managed to make an early warning aircraft for China, but its performance was so poor that China refused to produce any of its copies. Instead, China decided to import some from abroad. However, in the 1990s only the US and Israel were able to build early warning aircraft, but neither of them was willing to export them.

Due to Shanghai people’s kindness in helping Jews imprisoned in Japanese concentration camp during World War II, Israel entered into a contract to sell China four early warning aircrafts as a special favor, but was forced to cancel the contract under US pressure.

Wang Xiaomo felt greatly humiliated. He had been looked down by the US and regarded as being entirely unable to make a usable early warning aircraft. Previously he had perhaps lost confidence in his ability to make such an aircraft and decided to rely on Israel, but US insult stimulated him and caused him to work hard with the determination to make a good early warning aircraft to retaliate US insult.

Before Israeli cancel of the sales contract, Chinese government allocated almost all its funds for the import of early warning aircrafts and is not willing to provide Wang with much fund. Since the cancellation, China had no alternative but to develop its homegrown early warning aircrafts as such aircrafts are indispensable for the modernization of Chinese military. Wang was provided with abundant fund.

In addition, previous disappointment at Wang’s failure was turned into respect and dependence as Wang was China’s best radar scientist who China had to rely on to satisfy its urgent needs for early warning aircrafts.

Wang’s hard work and dedication finally paid. In November 2003, he succeeded in developing China’s KJ-2000 early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft much better than the Israeli one China intended but failed to import. KJ-2000 began operational service in 2006 after extensive flight and radar testing. Some experts were of the opinion that KJ-2000 was more advanced than US E3C as it was the first to use phase resonance radar.

Wang later developed KJ-500 regarded as one of the best AEW&C aircrafts in the world and thus satisfactorily completed his retaliation at US insult.

Scholars Revenge at US Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ Insult

In 2009, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates looked down on China and said that China was unable to have a stealth warplane before 2020.

China’s aircraft designers and engineers took the insult seriously and worked hard to make China’s stealth warplanes. Due to the talents given play by the insult, they successfully conducted maiden flight of China’s J-20 stealth fighter jet in January 2011 when Gates was visiting China. The timing of the test was obviously their retaliation at Gates’ insult.

Now they have conducted lots of tests of the prototypes, series produced J-20s and showed off two J-20s on November 1 at Zhuhai Airshow. They will certainly make their J-20 successful to complete their retaliation.

The US finds comfort in alleging that Wang Xiaomo has got secret help from Israel and China has stolen US technology through hacking in building its stealth fighter jet. What can the US find to comfort itself about China’s quick catching up with the US in space technology?

Has NASA ever been hacked or lost secret to China due to espionage? No news about that. It was US insult that has played a terrific role in helping China catch up with the US in technology.

China is catching up with the US quickly, but do you not find that it has caught up especially fast in the areas where Chinese scholars have been insulted by the US.

If American officials had known that well-known Chinese saying, they would not have stimulated Chinese scholars with the insults and enabled them to achieve technological progress much faster contrary to US desire.

Comments by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ and SCMP’s reports, full text of which can respectively found at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-space-idUSKBN13D0K4 and http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2047229/two-chinese-astronauts-safely-back-earth-after-nations


China Successful Launch of CZ-5 Rocket Equal to World Strongest Now


Launch of CZ-5 rocket.

Launch of CZ-5 rocket.

China’s CZ-5 rocket is able to send 25 tons to lower earth orbit (LEO). In SCMP’s report today titled “Launch of China’s most powerful rocket helps Beijing close gap with US”, it quotes James Clay Moltz, a professor at the US Naval Postgraduate School in California, as saying that the rocket will allow China to match the US in operating large-scale, high performance spy satellites and global military communication satellites, as well as attempting to put up a full-sized space station, land humans on the moon or send robotic rovers to Mars.

China seems to have caught up with the US, but SCMP says that the US will soon launch SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy with twice stronger power than CZ-5.

China’s official media Global Times says in its report on CZ-5 today that China plans to build an even larger and stronger rocket, the CZ-9, with a diameter of 9 meters (CZ-5 only 5 meters) and length of almost 100 meters able to send 100 tons to LEO with 3,000-ton thrust.

Source: SCMP “Launch of China’s most powerful rocket helps Beijing close gap with US”, full text of which can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2042760/chinas-most-powerful-rocket-lifts-island-launch-centre

Source: Global Times “China’s CZ-5 equal to world strongest rocket in service, even stronger one will be developed” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)


China to Use Space Station to Detect Nuclear Submarine


Shenzhou XI mission commander Jin Haipeng (left) is a major general in the People’s Liberation Army, while crew member Chen Dong is a colonel. Photo: EPA

Shenzhou XI mission commander Jin Haipeng (left) is a major general in the People’s Liberation Army, while crew member Chen Dong is a colonel. Photo: EPA

China’s space program is obviously both military and civilian with astronauts from ranking PLA officers, but how will China use its space station for military purpose?

SCMP says in its report today titled “Is China’s latest space mission a step towards PLA tracking of nuclear submarines?”, “Chinese scientists are working on a space-based device that could track gravitational ripples produced by submerged submarines”

China’s space laboratory is carrying world first cold atomic clock.

SCMP says, “The ultra-accurate timepiece shares its core technology with cold atom interferometers, which can measure tiny changes in gravitational pull with unprecedented sensitivity, and one of the devices, to be built and put on the Chinese space station, could potentially be used to track nuclear submarines.”

In fact, US government space agency NASA is also closely linked with US military, but unlike China, it is not under direct control of the military. I should say that China’s space program is first of all for national security and defense.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2028686/chinas-latest-space-mission-step-towards-pla-tracking


China’s Space Ambition


China's new Changzheng-5 carrier rocket able to carry 25 tons to near-earth orbit. The photo shows that it is ready for its maiden flight.

China’s new Changzheng-5 carrier rocket able to carry 25 tons to near-earth orbit. The photo shows that it is ready for its maiden flight.

CCTV’s report on October 8 marking the 60th anniversary of the establishment of Fifth Research Institute of the Defense Ministry, China’s first missile research institute that began China’s space efforts, reviews China’s achievements and gives description of the major targets in China’s ambitious space program.

China will launch its Shenzhou-11 spaceship this month and is making preparations for the maiden flight of Changzhen-5 large carrier rocket. The two projects, if successful, will begin a new development phase of China’s space program.

Shenzhou-11 will dock with China’s Tiangong-2 space lab to send two astronauts into the lab to stay there for 30 days to test the capabilities of China’s future space station in enabling astronauts to stay in the station for a long time.

Soon afterwards, Changzheng-5 will be launched in early November. It is a rocket of brand new structure with 5-meter diameter using a new generation of liquid oxygen-liquid hydrogen and liquid-oxygen-kerosene engine. With much higher loading capacity, it can send 25 tons to near-earth orbit.

China needs Changzheng-5 to send the core cabin of its space station and Change-5 lunar explorer.

China will begin Mars exploration by 2020. It plans to send a spaceship to Mars late 2020 to first circle round Mars and then land on Mars before July 2021.

China is developing a carrier rocket able to send 100 to 130 tons to near-earth orbit for sending astronauts to the moon and exploration of farther planets.

Source: CCTV “60ths anniversary of China’s space efforts: Shenzhou-11 will be launched this month and Changzheng-5 will soon begin its maiden flight” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)