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Sci-Tech Projects for Space Station in China

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China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) recently released an announcement to openly select projects of sci-tech experiments and applications from the country at large to board the Tianzhou cargo spacecraft. The project application is open for government organisations, research institutions, educational institutions, enterprises and industry groups.

Any project that faces the sci-tech frontier, meets the requirement of national development strategy and sci-tech development trend, or is forward-looking, innovative or has industrial development value can submit the application.

Tianzhou-3 and Tianzhou-2 were launched on Sept. 20 and May 29 respectively this year, to transport supplies and materials for the construction of China’s space station. Tianzhou cargo spacecraft series was independently developed by China. Their operation orbit is no higher than 450 km, with a maximum load of 6.5 tonnes and a one-year in-orbit flight time. The in-orbit construction of China’s space station is going smoothly as planned. After completion, it will enter the stage of application and development, with two Tianzhou spacecraft launched on averagely each year.

Aside from the cargo supply, they will also provide an open and shared platform for space science and technology experiments and application projects. This is the first time for China’s manned space mission to open its cargo craft payloads to the public.

Previously, the CMSA cooperated with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs on the application of China’s space station to provide opportunities to carry out application experiments. There have been nine projects from 17 countries being selected, which are in the fields of space life science and biotechnology, space astronomy, and microgravity fluids and combustion.

China has built 17 national Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovative development pilot zones. In 2019, China started to build a new generation of national AI innovative development pilot zones, relying on local governments to carry out technology demonstrations, policy pilots, and social experiments. According to a document released by the Ministry of Science and Technology, China plans to build around 20 AI pilot zones by 2023.

Aiming at addressing the major fundamental issues of international significance and China’s national strategic needs, China has been conducting scientific experiments and research in the areas of life sciences, fluids, combustion, material sciences and basic physics, as well as astronomy and earth observation studies, along with verifications of new technologies for space applications, to improve the level of space science and achieve overall application benefits.

The Chinese government decided to implement the manned space program and prescribed the “three-step strategy” of development. The first step is to launch a manned spaceship, set up primarily integrated experimental manned spacecraft engineering, and carry out space application experiments.

The second step is to make technology breakthroughs in extravehicular activities as well as space rendezvous and docking of manned spaceships and spacecraft, launch a space lab, and provide a solution for space application of a certain scale with man-tending on a short-term basis. The third step is to establish a space station, and provide a solution for space application on a larger scale with man-tending on a long-term basis.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, China has made great achievements in scientific and technological innovation during the 13th Five-Year Plan period. As China embarks on a new journey to build a modern socialist country in all respects, sci-tech innovation will play a vital role in promoting the country’s overall development.

China launched the Tianwen-1 mission, comprising an orbiter, lander and rover. The rover Zhurong has travelled more than 1,000 meters since it landed on Mars. The Chang’e-5 probe, comprising an orbiter, a lander, an ascender, and a returner has also been launched.

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