BEIJING, March 12 -- The government has unveiled an
ambitious blueprint for developing space science that includes the launch of the
country's first astronomy satellite and more extensive international
The astronomical satellite will carry a "hard X-ray
modulation telescope," which is being developed by Chinese scientists for launch
in 2010, according to the Space Science Development Plan.
The plan was released by the Commission of Science,
Technology and Industry for National Defense for the 11th Five-Year Plan
(2006-10) over the weekend.
The project will help Chinese scientists make
breakthroughs in research of black hole physics and other fields, as hard X-rays
originate mostly from regions close to black holes, experts said.
The telescope would be preceded by Shijian-10, a
recoverable satellite to be sent in 2009 for scientific experiments, according
to the plan.
The document singles out three international
cooperative projects to be implemented in the current Five-Year Plan period.
They include a joint unmanned mission to Mars with
Russia, which will not only bring samples back to Earth but also land on one of
the red planet's tiny moons, Ye Peijian, a leading scientist at the Chinese
Research Institute of Space Technology, said last August.
China and Russia will also work on the World
Satellite Observatory of Ultra-Violet.
Another international cooperation project is the
Small Explorer for Solar Eruptions (SMESE), a Chinese-French mission to observe
solar flares and Coronal Mass Ejections for the next Solar Maximum in about
The plan does not specify a timetable for the three
It says China will focus on innovation and
sustainability of space science development to better serve the national economy
and security, and help build China into an "innovative country".
The government will set up a system to ensure
scientific projects are chosen in an "open and fair" fashion, and "multiple
sources" are encouraged to fund such projects, it says.
The release of the development blueprint coincides
with the ongoing sessions of the country's top legislature and political
advisory body in Beijing.
Last week, Huang Chunping and Qi Faren, both members
of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative
Conference, said the country would launch a moon orbiter "some time" this year
and stage a space walk in 2008.
(Source: China Daily)