Space ex­plo­ration pro­gram launched

Re­searchers are al­ready sub­mit­ting ideas for projects for the 14th and 15th Five-Year Plan

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By CHENG YINGQI chengy­ingqi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The Na­tional Space Sci­ence Cen­ter af­fil­i­ated to the Chi­nese Academy of Sciences has of­fi­cially launched a pro­gram con­sist­ing of five space ex­plo­ration projects to be ac­com­plished dur­ing the 13th FiveYear Plan (2016-20).

The projects in­volve a se­ries of satel­lites and a space­craft to study so­lar-geo­phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity, the wa­ter cy­cle on Earth, and cos­mo­genic ori­gin of black holes, grav­i­ta­tional waves and gamma-ray bursts.

“Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping spoke of the im­por­tance of space ex­plo­ration at a ma­jor sci-tech con­fer­ence on May 30. It is nec­es­sary to pro­mote the all­round de­vel­op­ment of space sci­ence, space tech­nol­ogy and space ap­pli­ca­tions via ini­ti­at­ing these projects,” said Xiang Libin, vice-pres­i­dent of the Chi­nese Academy of Sciences.

The five projects were se­lected from a num­ber of can­di­dates spon­sored by the academy’s Strate­gic Pri­or­ity Pro­gram on Space Sci­ence over the past five years.

“Un­der the State-funded Strate­gic Pri­or­ity Pro­gram, we have al­ready launched three satel­lites into space, achiev­ing sig­nif­i­cant re­search re­sults, which will be re­leased in the com­ing few months,” Xiang said.

China’s first Dark Mat­ter Par­ti­cle Ex­plorer satel­lite was launched in De­cem­ber last year, fol­lowed by the Shi­jian 10 satel­lite, which was launched and re­cov­ered in April, and the Quan­tum Ex­per­i­ments at Space Scale satel­lite that was launched in Au­gust.

“The re­search, de­sign, pro­duc­tion and launch of sci­en­tific satel­lites are a pro­longed process that usu­ally takes five to 10 years. A pro­gram that pro­vides con­tin­u­ous sup­port to promis­ing projects means space sci­en­tists across the coun­try are given a sta­ble chan­nel to demon­strate their ideas step by step,” Xiang said.

The cen­ter has also be­gun so­lic­it­ing re­search ideas from all space sci­ence in­sti­tutes across China.

Re­searchers are able to sub­mit an in­tro­duc­tion to their re­search ideas to the cen­ter by the end of De­cem­ber. Af­ter the first round of ex­pert re­views, the ideas with prospects for study will re­ceive grants from the cen­ter for up to six months of in-depth study to form de­tailed re­search plans, some of which will be cho­sen as can­di­dates for the coun­try’s 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) or 15th Five-Year Plan (2026-30) on space ex­plo­ration.

“The pri­mary cri­te­ria for se­lect­ing a can­di­date project is the prospect of sci­en­tific achieve­ment,” said Wu Ji, di­rec­tor of the Na­tional Space Sci­ence Cen­ter.

Ac­cord­ing to Wu, in­ter­na­tional re­search fron­tiers in­clude cos­mo­genic ori­gin and so­lar-geo­phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity.

“How­ever, this is a bot­tom-up ap­pli­ca­tion process in­stead of a top-down de­ploy­ment process,

An as­sort­ment of satel­lites

The Ein­stein Probe which means we have no in­ten­tion of start­ing projects that cover all in­ter­na­tional fron­tiers. We will only chose projects that Chi­nese sci­en­tists have an in­ter­est in and re­search ca­pa­bil­i­ties to per­form,” he said.

The satel­lites, when launched, will work in co­or­di­na­tion with sci­en­tific fa­cil­i­ties on Earth.

“For ex­am­ple, we have sent some re­searchers to work with the Laser In­ter­fer­om­e­ter Grav­i­ta­tional-Wave Ob­ser­va­tory — which de­tected grav­i­ta­tional waves in Fe­bru­ary — in the United States. In the fu­ture, once waves are de­tected on the ground, we will turn our satel­lite im­me­di­ately in the given di­rec­tion to ob­tain more ac­cu­rate data,” Wu said.

is a satel­lite that car­ries two X-ray tele­scopes — one with higher sen­si­tiv­ity and wide-field imag­ing ca­pac­ity; the other with lower sen­si­tiv­ity and a nar­row-field X-ray tele­scope — in search of black holes, grav­i­ta­tional waves and gamma-ray bursts. Lyu Xi­wen, for­mer deputy Party chief of Bei­jing, stands trial at a court in Jilin prov­ince on Thurs­day. Lyu was charged with ac­cept­ing bribes to­tal­ing 18.79 mil­lion yuan ($2.72 mil­lion) be­tween 2001 and 2015 when she held sev­eral posts in the cap­i­tal, the Jilin City In­ter­me­di­ate Peo­ple’s Court said on Thurs­day. Lyu abused her power to gain ben­e­fits for oth­ers and ac­cepted bribes, ac­cord­ing to the court. Lyu pleaded guilty and ex­pressed re­morse, the court said, adding that a ver­dict will be is­sued at a later date.

and re­lated phys­i­cal pro­cesses, as well as the re­sponses of the wa­ter cy­cle to global changes.

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