Space


China's State Planning & Space Industry Forecasting

© C. P Vick, 2006-7-8-11-13, All Rights Reserved

Senior Technical Analyst

05-31-07 / 06-25-10/10-8-13

Chinese Space Industry Directive

The Chinese Space Industry Directive Reflect the Overall Science & Technology (S&T) Goal of the PRC. The overall Chinese governments intent with the present effort is to continue closing the perceived large gap with Western countries in overall S&T development and especially in Space Technology one of the leading edge venues of the expanding envelope they are pursuing for the associated industry development to serve both the evolving civil dual purpose sector but especially the military sector though this was not directly stated.

This was revealed by Vice Minister of Science and Technology, Li Xueyong as reported on September 17, 2009 out of Beijing, China. He stated that China is investing the Chinese equivalent of $35 billion dollars in high-technological development during 2009 but the figures were higher for 2008 was the Chinese equivalent of $37 billion dollars. He went on to further point out that the funding in the S&T field was increased some 40 fold since 1978. He predicted that it would be even more expanded in the coming years of the five year fiscal plans as a matter of State policy. That is the command economy supported by the capitalist economic sectors is being directed to close the overall S&T perceived gap especially in national security interest regimes.

China’s Space Industry Economic Prospects and Five Year Plan Fiscal Planning

Recent provincial and the subsequent national yearly meetings of the Chinese People’s Congress “National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Congress conference has given highlights of the Chinese present 11 th “five year plan” 2006-2010 and it follow on ten year “forecast plans” 2011-2015, and the 15 year “outlook plan” 2016-2020 and Future Forecast Plans discussions through 2021-2025-2030 space programs planning. The greatest impact of the reports coming out of the congress conference is the clear cut meaning of the various releases that China’s manned and new launch vehicle development efforts have received a full five year plan set back from the original schedule envisioned in this and the last five year plans. (4, 6) Each of these forecast ultimately contribute to the follow-on five year plans development. In a true sense they serve to set up the future five year plan fiscal command economy planning for China ’s development and utilization. The China State Council ruling cabinet leadership approved the 11 th five year plan 2006-2010 for space on May 10, 2007 .

It had already previously released a White Paper report on the previous Five Year Plan 2001-2005 results and the immediate future plans for this five year plan 2006-2010. (9, 12) Within that report emphasis was placed on satellite remote sensing expansion, Direct Broadcast Satellites, Meteorological satellites and navigation satellite developments. They also emphasized the in development of new Sea Monitoring satellite series in addition to a small constellation satellite series. (9, 12) The space plans were subsequently approved by the Chinese communist party central committee of about 350 members before the final five year Party congress of 2,000 approved it. Only the standing committee Politburo of 25 members can change those decisions for this five year plan as of mid-October 2007. Many of the party approved changes were to address the imbalance in Science &Technology economic development over the last three decades of six five year plans. (15) China’s space program is to emphasize in this and the next five year plan according to the Chinese, Academy of Sciences (CAS) three areas of development of navigation, remote sensing and communication satellites all having dual purpose requirement for the so call civil and military sectors of the national space effort. One of the efforts is concentrated around the Bediou GPS class satellite competitor to the GPS, GLONASS, and planned Galileo satellite systems. (2, 3, 12)

In 2009 China plans to launch as many as 15-16 satellites spread out over a wide ranging series of unmanned and manned satellite programs. (38) China also announced the development construction of a new satellite production infrastructure in the city of Shenzhen called the Shenzhen Aerospace Space satellite Co. Ltd. The State plan is for the organization to develop six to eight satellite designs with the goal of producing five to six of them each year. The high technology facility is expected to cost 160 million Yuan. (39)

S&T Effort

The Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for the National Defense indicated that the Chinese nations Science & Technology will concentrate its efforts in the space sector on carrying out Rendezvous and docking of manned spacecraft in addition to an EVA demonstration, and launching the countries first astronomy hard X-ray telescope satellite planned for 2010. They intend to continue to push and emphasize extensive international cooperation to help fortify the military S & T acquisition of technological knowhow experience for science and the dual purpose military industry requirement. Additional plans revealed are the recoverable orbital satellite Shijian-10 planned for launch in 2009. Among the Chinese international cooperative efforts are the unmanned Russian mars sample return efforts that includes landing on one of Mar’s moon. China is developing the 110 kilogram Yinghuo-1 satellite to piggyback on the Russian spacecraft. China and Russia plan to cooperate on the ultra-Violet earth observation satellite while China and France are working on the Small Explorer for Solar Eruptions (SMESE) planned for the solar maximum in 2011. The high light of this five year plan scientific missions is the October 24, 2007 successful launch of the Chinese Chang’e-1 lunar orbiter spacecraft with its 3D imagery lunar resources analysis capability. (3, 4, 6, 7, 11, 16)

S&T Issues

From the start of this process China has, like the West, used the available discretionary funds to push its S & T to drive its national economy to provide for development of its military industrial industry capabilities, all under the same Government employer roof. That has now received added emphasis for this five year plan period with the 20% increase in S & T discretionary funding or a forecast planning increase of 2.5% of GDP by 2020. In China , the authoritarian State exists based on the military and in some cases bordering on the totalitarian side. China ’s military space capability would develop regardless of what the West does but it is still far behind the US present evolving military space capability. Probably in 15 years or so China may indeed fully challenge our leadership regardless of what China may say publicly because the circumstantial evidence is in their forecast planning considerations. It directly reflects their doctrinal belief as a rising world economic power that they are capable of replacing the U. S. on the world stage to preserve their system.

We have to understand why these programs are being pursued by China . It has been the plan like in the West at least since the introduction of the 863 manned program in 1986 to apply from the total available government funding about 40% to basic scientific research to push the basic sciences and about 60% of the available funding to push the basic technologies, (research & development). (1) This is done to drive the national economy and to provide for the citizenry’s well being. Above all, it is to provide for the national security of the nation by keeping the Chinese technologically competitive with the technologically advanced world leadership. Typically this so called budget funding largely derived from the vulnerable to external influence capitalist economic zones of the PRC China for the command economy operated through the five year plan via the State controlled allocation of material, equipment, personnel, and man hours resources which is broken down between strictly military programs and civil military duel purpose programs.

25 Year Future Outlook Planning Discussions Not On the Official Outlook Plans

During 2007 several conceptual space programs began to be discussed as a prelude to the next five year plan introduction of the follow on 15 year outlook plan 2021-2025. They included the discussion of Chinese Manned Lunar flight (twice denied) and lunar base after 2020 as well as a 20-25 ton manned space station program (once denied) for launch around 2020. (16, 26) Both programs would be dependent on the successful completion of the Long March-5 launch vehicle. The Chinese, China National Space Administration (CNSA) made it clear that none of the conceptual programs are officially a part of any existing State plan as of now. (19) These two conceptual programs are clearly headed for a collision among the various advocacy factions within the ruling Chinese space and political leadership community with mock up work already completed on the space station concept. This does seem to have taken precedent over manned lunar aspirations for the military hand in the decisions. Manned lunar aspirations seemed to have not quite taken hold within the S&T and Military, Political leadership priorities as yet. The fact that such discussions have been publicly revealed certainly portends for those decisions to be made in this five year plan for the addition to the next official Outlook Plan of 2021-2025. (13, 16, 18, 19, 26)

Based on what China is now committed to forces one to certainly question what China’s intentions are in relation the new LM-5 booster and its various mission openly discussed and the unseen military S&T hand in its planned missions and programs. Obviously the commercial intents of independence with intense market competition and potential domination are clear as well as the unmanned lunar plans. It leaves a large gap in the potential manned military earth orbit and potential manned lunar missions separate from the unmanned planetary possibilities. To assume that these plans will wait for the fifteen year outlook plan is to be naive in the face of China ’s space challenge regardless of what they say. (25) There is a larger unseen justification for the new launch vehicles infrastructure that is only barely displaying itself.

Strong hints at what is in the offing is that China’s administration considers it satellite networks a serious national security industrial S&T base issue for which they must be independent of the rest of the world starting around 2010. It literally intends to replace all foreign sourced communications satellites of eight year life durations capability with their own satellites doubling the life to fifteen years by 2010 according to the Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for the National Defense. This is a major five year plan requirement. Being dependent on foreign suppliers is considered by the Chinese to be national security vulnerability. In general it is the present Chinese administration policy to depend on self-innovation through only domestic suppliers for all military as well as transportation and communications and energy sourcing. The clear cut economic, S&T national security interrelationship to this Chinese administration and its policy designs are intent on preserving their system. (21, 22, 27) The military threat implications of this and other developments are not unfounded.

NASA Chinese S&T Warning

Little wonder that the NASA administrator Michael Griffin, in a Washington luncheon speech on the Space Economy of September 17, 2007 caught many by surprise. It was followed by a question and answers session and e-mail responses. In response to a question he stated "I personally believe that China will be back on the Moon before we are," (14) Clarifying his answer to the question later via e-mail, Griffin said he was referring to human flight to the moon and that, “If one is willing to make use of multiple Earth-orbital rendezvous, a really big rocket is not required.” This would be done in place of developing a Saturn V-class launch vehicle like NASA's planned Ares V. He further stated, "I think that when that happens, Americans will not like it, but they will just have to not like it." And that, "I think we will see again, as we have seen with China's introductory manned spaceflight's so far, that nations look up to nations that appear to be at the top of the technical pyramid, and they want to do deals with those nations." (14)

Surely these remarks by the NASA administrator and indeed the whole reason for the Bush “Vision for Space Exploration” and its manifestation infrastructure in the whole Ares/Constellation manned lunar program reflect the intelligence briefings red flag from the US intelligence community to this Bush administration and NASA as a national security, S&T, & economic warning. These US programs are based on the national security need requirements as I was directly told openly by personnel from NASA recently. The National Security, geopolitical leadership issues are the why and the driver. The Lunar effort is merely a means to an end besides the science and technology requirements and maintenance of the industrial base greatly reduced in this nation that is required to support US National Security means.

China once it completes the development of the Long March-5 launch vehicle probably in 2014 could quickly carry out a manned lunar circumnavigation program followed by a manned lunar orbit mission through earth orbital rendezvous before 2020. In fact the manned lunar circumnavigation program using the existing Shenzhou spacecraft launched on a Long March-2F booster could carry out a manned lunar circum navigation program now using the existing Long March-3B launch vehicle last stage as a trans lunar injection stage.

The absence of evidence on these human lunar exploration goals does not mean something is not happening. It can be quite to the contrary and more often than not it should be a red flag warning that something is indeed going on that will eventually manifest itself. Although the human lunar circumnavigation mission is clearly technically feasible through two different means there is no certainty of any committed program. However, the parallel development of the required technologies in both the launch vehicles along with the crewed human Shenzhou spacecraft, EVA and docking systems technology for the committed space station long term goals as well as the potential not openly committed human crewed lunar circumnavigation and lunar orbit mission capability cannot be ignored except at the US own geopolitical technological surprise expense.

New Fourth Launch Infrastructure

Among the details released from the Congress’s has been more information on the scheduling revisions for the Long March-5’s development status and the new Hainan, Island launch center construction schedule for both the Long March-2E, Long March-3/3A/3B and the much larger Long March-5 launch vehicles operations. The program was approved in 2006 for development and the launch site infrastructure which is to be operational with in seven or eight years or about 2013-2014. Ground testing beyond what has already been done with key technologies could be expected to commence on the launch vehicle as early as 2009/2010 with flight testing to start in the next five year plan 2011-2015. As Always flight testing is commenced during the middle period of a five year plan. China intends to corner the launch service market with a projected 1,060 launch vehicle units that afflictively amounts to dumping cheap launch services on the global market. This is far in excess of the world and Chinese requirements bringing into question the potential quota requirements to preserve the rest of the worlds space market industrial base from an attempted Chinese market domination of the industry. Issues of potentially how Russia and or China are thinking policies like this and its impact on the Western industry base government interest leaves much to contemplate. (12, 23)

One day we may wake up to a Chinese geopolitical technological surprise and realize that with little warning that China has launched a precursor un-crewed earth orbital rendezvous (EOR) lunar circumnavigation mission to be followed by a human lunar circumnavigation mission soon afterwards. Once the LM-5 booster becomes operational after 2014, the single launch circumnavigation mission becomes possible and the lunar orbital mission becomes possible through EOR. This is because the Shenzhou spacecraft has built into its design the capacity for earth orbit and lunar orbital missions. It could with proper equipment also support a human lunar landing mission through EOR similar the present Russian mission concept. This brings into question whether China will have a human lunar landing capability until the middle of the 2021-2025 Five Year Plan.

State Planning - Delays

From the Meisner, M., Mao's Chinas: A History of the People's Republic, New York, Free press,1977, we learn that "The first PRC plan, 1953-1957, "...was closely patterned on the Soviet First Five -Year Plan of 1928-1932..." (40) With the State Planning Commission being established in 1952. We also learn that this PRC Five Year Plan overlapped the USSR 5th. and 6th. Five -Year Plan offset for political reasons that were not administrative. Of even greater importance the BBC/CNN, 1998 Cold War, (a 24-part series cable cast in 1993, available today on six DVD’s) segment number 15: "China, 1949-1972," i.e., from the Communist ascendancy to the state visit by U.S. President Richard M, Nixon that quoting Ivan Arkhipov who in the early 1950s was the chief USSR adviser to Red China, He states: "We explained to our Chinese friends that The Plan was the basis of everything," not just the economy but other branches of knowledge as well. It is the basis of the State Economy." Thus is the history of the origin of the PRC's State Planning.

No one really noticed the years of delay to build up to including the hardware within this five year plan as the next one approaches on January 1, 2011. That which requires real lead time as it does in any other place such as Russia and others. That pipe line is not endless without support needs as a supplier from national sources. Things in planning are started in one five year plan matured in the middle of the next five year plan and become operational in the next five year plan after that. So to say and the resources is the key besides the perfected tested design hardware

Throw away Western economist and banker economic thinking perception and GNP which is meaningless and not applicable when considering the PRC's State Planning the real Chinese economy.

The suggested GNP of the PRC is merely meant for the public and external world-wide consumption which is worthless. What we have to remember which requires just the right descriptive words that the Chinese dollar is or has some world market value externally but it's in the internal command economy that it has essentially no real value or is essentially worthless as was the Soviet ruble in Soviet times. What they the Soviets said it was worth in Western terms was for Western consumption deception lies. That command economy unreformed military, industrial, complex of China is dependent of an economy based in resources such as materials, national military civil labor manpower personnel, man-hours, and equipment as the trading commodity with essentially no relationship to world currency. As the Chinese leadership has admitted publicly the economy would have long since collapsed if it was not for the Western economic zones that benefit all in china that could not exist without it. Only the "kilowatt hours of electricity generated per capita has any real meaning as a measure of its economic vitality.

 That is there Achilles heel and they know it and are trying to rectify it internally for an overheated economy dumping on the world economy. While at the same time believing doctrinally they can replace the United States and thus while making the world economic dependence on it that must be supported or all hell breaks loose? Hello!

According to senior consultant, James T. Westwood, of Military Science and Defense Analytics, Unionville, VA, "This is saying that the Chinese military industrial command economy is in fact a barter vice commodity economy with all kinds of fiefdoms for man-hours, materials, equipment, and national military civil labor manpower personnel barter within the system."

That gives you a real insight to the Long March-5 and its multiple delays and the required national leadership party and military decision to provide the limited resources for such a national effort. They have previously been occupied with other projects of national priority. It also tells you a great deal about the stretched out limits under funding of the space effort in general. Nothing in the State plan changes unless approved by the political leadership of the PRC embodied in the Politburo or in part the Party Congress.

Charles P. Vick, Senior technical analyst, globalsecurity.org

Policy Issues

As long as Iran remains the quad-pro-quo near abroad ally of China and to a degree Russia but especially China (a none signatory of the MTCR) with its acquiesce aiding and abetting of Iran. They will continue to be a none supporter of the international sanctions regime against Iran and North Korea which they will continue to ignore at the expense of the world at large promoting their own agenda. This is a very slippery road with ominous meaning to humanity. In the good faith support by the world enforcing the UN sanctions on Iran the Chinese have blatantly stepped in, to replace everybody else that was doing business with Iran as its primary business associate at the world’s expense. This is very blatantly contemptuous respect of the UN membership on the part of the PRC reflecting true Chinese State policy at the world’s endangerment.

Direct evidence of assistance, education and hardware transfer from the Chinese to the Iranian’s defense and space, missile industry, government personnel has been witnessed on large scale within China's military industrial infrastructure.

The Next Manned Mission during This Five Year Plan / 2011 Start Next F.Y.P.

This shortened Shenzhou-7 flight with its primary EVA, multi-human crew mission demonstration is all a prelude of mission and future capability to come that must first be successfully accomplished before moving on to bigger and better earth orbital rendezvous operations as presently planned.

This is before going to the next planned phase two goal, spacecraft docking mission with the un-crewed automatic docking of Shenzhou-8 with the all up Tiangong-1 (Heavenly Palace-1) space laboratory module mission. This will create the initial rudimentary space laboratory station called Tiangong-1 several of which are planned to be launched over the next two five year plans It will be placed into a 400 kilometer circular orbit at an inclination of 42-43 degrees. It will be crewed by perhaps two or three person human passengers on Shenzhou-9 & Shenzhou-10 missions if the docking of the unmanned Tiangong 1, and uncrewed Shenzhou-8 is successful.

Tiangong-1was to be launched by the end of 2010 but is now scheduled for first half of 2011 on a modified Long March-2F called Long March-2F/G. The Tiangong modules are 3.35 meters in diameter and have an approximately mass of 8-8.5 metric ton (7,800 to 8,000-8,500 kgs). They are essentially believed to be wider lengthened orbital modules with a front docking port with no descent module attached. Perhaps it will be launched with a variant of the un-crewed Shenzhou type instrument propulsion module with its two multi paneled solar arrays as a station module. Tiangong-1 has a not unexpected similar appearance to the Soviet era Salyut space station but is definitely smaller than Salyut's design. This will accelerate the crewed space platform program to phase three. This rudimentary human space platform will be made up primarily from the derivation Shenzhou “Tiangong 1” module and the docked Shenzhou-8, 9, & 10 spacecraft orbital modules which are independent spacecraft in their own right.

The Schedule Missions

The uncrewed Shenzhou-8 is to be launched for its docking test in the second half of 2011. The expected crewed Shenzhou 9 & 10 missions spacecraft are planned for launch in 2012. The Tiangong-2 and Tiangong-3 space laboratories are expected to be launched for docking missions as well as for regenerative life support and cargo resupply mission demonstrations during the next two five year plans between 2014 and 2016 .

Where and whether the second docking port on Tiangong modules is located is clearly identified is key to understanding their planning. This would portend the possibility of a yet to be proven Chinese capability to replace the stations instrument propulsion module as required. This however has yet to be clarified or confirmed from the available released information.

Clearly something has been lost in all the speculation going around that has not been looked at realistically. Several major things give the answers along with one other realization. That is that the Chinese PRC human crewed space programs are a stretched out under funded multi-pronged program to push the basic sciences and technology for themselves. Two the development of the Long March-5 program and its support infrastructure development is a huge national resources burden draw from the funds available for space programs. There is only so much that this and the next five year plan can handle based on the obvious limits to the discretionary funds. Three it is stipulated that only “ four launches will be done in two years” that was started in the present Five Year Plan 1-2006 through 1-2011 but will only start flying between the two five year plan 2006-2010/2011-2015. To date that has not changed. There is one and only one Tiangong module launch in late 2010 fourth quarter now early first half of 2011 as presently planned due to technical delays. Talk of so called launches with a rapid succession of Shenzhou 8 after Tiangong-1 launch has now been stretched out for operations and personnel facilities resource limits. Shnenzou-8 is now scheduled for launch in the second half of 2011. Two more launches Shenzhou-9 & 10 missions possibly crewed in sequence are planned for the 2012 time frame). The total stations life span is two years but that is dependent on the rate of the utilization of the expendables not all of which are replaceable as the design is presently understood. There was talk that once Tiangong 1 was launched the three Shenzhou 8, 9 &10 spacecraft would “be launched within a month of each other” in a series of rapid succession two launch operations not previously seen but built into the launch facility infrastructure’s capability on the Jiuquan infrastructure. None of these Tiangong modules will dock together as presently envisioned.

Certainly the combination as envisioned will incorporate 10 and 15 day and perhaps up to 20 or 30 day mission duration capability for a two person crew. There should be no confusion about the Tiangong-1 module technological design because it has perhaps two docking ports one in front definitely identified and perhaps one in the rear (not identified) connected to its launch instrument propulsion module. It should also be clear at some point one of the Shenzhou orbital modules will have to be jettisoned to make way for the next crewed docking because the orbital modules and instrument propulsion modules are being used perhaps as interchangeable service modules. By no means is it clear that the Shenzhou Orbital module on these missions will be capable of being interchangeable service modules as they have been flown in the past but this would seem more logical to equip them with such a capability. This is in addition to the man tended Shenzhou spacecraft that utilize the orbital modules docked to the small space lab. By doing things this way China will be able to demonstrate the kind of logistic support required for long duration operations in both crewed and un-crewed modes. In many respects the Tiangong-1 reminds us of the un-crewed Progress re supply spacecraft hardware operations concept. The replenishment supplies will be carried by Shenzhou-8 for the Shenzhou-9 and Shenzhou-10 crew stay periods. Close study of the hardware suggest that the Shenzhou orbital module could be equipped with a hatch between the descent module and the interior of the orbital module. How all this work in sequence is amazingly simple and ingenious in it simple design approach if that is indeed the intent and design being developed but that is not yet confirmed?

 Suggested Tiangong-1, Shenzhou-8 & Shenzhou-9, 10 Mission Sequences

1. First launch of the uncrewed small spacecraft Tiangong-1 space laboratory module with its Shenzhou class instrument propulsion module with its own two solar arrays was planned for late 2010 near the end of the present five year plan but is now planned for the first half of 2011 early in the next five year plan is the new schedule announced due to technical delays.

2. This will be followed in the second half of 2011 by the unmanned launch and automatic docking demonstration of the Shenzhou-8 spacecraft utilizing their common APAS type docking system. It's orbital module can serve as an instrument propulsion module for the Tiangong-1 module if it jettisons its own instrument propulsion module or together to reserve the Tiangong-1 instrument propulsion modules propellants. That un-crewed Shenzhou-8 orbital module or the Shenzhou-9 will bring up the supplies for the two crewed missions to follow as well as preserve the Tiangong-1 expendable supplies.

3. The subsequent crewed or un-crewed Shenzhou-9 and crewed Shenzhou-10 will also use their orbital modules to bring up supplies in sequence and to serve as instrument propulsion modules.

4. Once the Shenzhou-8 descent module and instrument propulsion module have parted its orbital module with the German experimental payload it can serve temporally as an instrument propulsion module for the Tiangong-1 module.

5. In a series of rapid succession two or three person crew mission launched within a month of one another the uncrewed or crewed Shenzhou-9 missions the Shenzhou-10 crewed spacecraft will demonstrate docking and operation of the Tiangong-1 module space laboratory. This procedure seems to have now been stretched out over a year to successfully demonstrate the program hardware without having to repeat the development test in flight putting them behind schedule. There are real limits to what they can do until the Long March-5, 6, and 7 programs come on line thus we see the stretch out now manifesting itself.

6. As they near the end of their Shenzhou-9 mission the Shenzhou-10 crewed spacecraft will be launched and the now empty Shenzhou-9 orbital module full of trash will be jettisoned opening up the port for the Shenzhou-10 spacecraft docking.

7. Either before or soon after the Shenzhou-10 docking the Shenzhou-9 descent module with its instrument propulsion module will depart perhaps leaving the Shenzhou-9 orbital module to serve as an instrument propulsion module.

8. After the completion of the Shenzhou-10 mission the crew will return using their instrument propulsion module and descent module leaving the Shenzhou-10 orbital module to control the Tiangong-1 module to the end of it design life.

9. The Tiangong-2 and Tiangong-3 modules are expected to be flown in similar manners between 2014 and 2016 with follow up crewed Shenzhou-11 through Shenzhou-14 missions with derivation re supply spacecraft fully demonstrating the mastery of rendezvous and docking technology in addition to extended length manned missions through re supply operations. These mission will extend the Tiangong - Shenzhou missions program through 2016.

Thus this space laboratory module program will have demonstrated docking, re-supply, endurance and regenerative life support systems and most of all interchangeable hand off of the service control modules in perhaps two forms besides the human tended space laboratory operations for its multiple intentions

The Shenzhou-10 spacecraft is expected to carry a two person crew. Each of these Shenzhou spacecraft launches were expected to be carried out in something under a month between each launch since the Tiangong 1 station module has a design life of two year depending on the rate of use of expendables and crewing. There is expected to be some lapse of time between the Shenzhou-9 and Shenzhou-10 spacecraft missions.

Chinese planning seems to indicate the intent to maintain a contingency Shenzhou-9 mission depending on the Shenzhou-8 docking performance. If Shenzhou-8 is successful then that could clear the way for a crewed Shenzhou-9 mission but definitely Shenzhou-10 will be crewed. Additional Tiangong class module and Shenzhou missions are not yet fully defined like these first four launches but they may be planned for the post Tiangong-1 operations with a newer module and the subsequent multiple Shenzhou spacecraft launches within the next five year plan 2011-2015. This remains only partially confirmed as they seem to indicate that the post Tiangong-1through 3 effort will be refocused on the permanent Salyut class space station effort because of the economic and technological issues with the larger space station and LM-5 programs.

That is a total of three Shenzhou spacecraft one un-crewed and two crewed and the un-crewed Tiangong 1 module. That initial program will end in the first two year of the next five year plan. The earth orbital assembly docking of the un-crewed Tiangong 1 module and subsequent three Shenzhou spacecraft number 8, 9 & 10 is tentatively scheduled for launch within the first half year of the next five year plan 2011. The un-crewed Tiangong 1 docking with the un-crewed Shenzhou-8 spacecraft will be the initial demonstrate of the technological knowhow to establish the rudimentary space station within this five year plan. It is to be followed by the docking of the Shenzhou-9 crewed spacecraft to finally establish the rudimentary small crewed spacecraft laboratory for longer duration scientific missions. Soon afterwards with the next crewed Shenzhou-10 crewed spacecraft launch the second crew manning of the space laboratory will take place as the mission planned durations are carried out. This is expected to serve as a demonstration longer duration crewed mission as a military reconnaissance platform among other task that could be facilitated. Previous models of the Shenzhou spacecraft have been utilized for this purpose from the observed on board equipment.

I still believe that China driven by its military requirements will give priority to the space laboratory, station effort over the lunar effort but China’s Politburo leadership may have decided to take advantage of its world stage opportunity in the coming years at the USA‘s expense. Thus the limited manned lunar effort is possible and expected.

Alternate View Point

Some are of the belief that the Tiangong module is a derivation on the Soviet era TKS module. Though the Russians have been advising the Chinese on their program so this apparent similarity is self evident but there is a difference as we shall see. In fact apples and oranges appear to have become mixed here with the Tiangong module appearing to be a reduced size version of the later larger TKS/Salyut class 20-25 metric ton space station concept as it presently stands. Tiangong is to have a mass very similar to that of the Shenzhou spacecraft which would tend to limit it to a much small launch vehicle size. That is the Salyut class station requires the Long March-5 booster that will not be available in 2010-2013 time frame. Only the Kerosene/LOX closed cycle powered Long March -2F/G and Long March -2F/H boosters will be capable of launching the new heavier Shenzhou unmanned manned spacecraft and heavier Tiangong man tended space station module. This and the following: China's Tiangong 1 space station unveiled for tiny Taikonauts, appears to be the true size of the Tiangong module verses the Shenzhou spacecraft.

However what now follows appears to be the future Salyut class station planned for Long March-5 launch two five year plan down the road from the present. See this image and the Chinese Space Laboratory. Yes the Tiangong module appears to be taking advantage of the external Shenzhou spacecraft shroud diameter of 2.8 - 3.0 - 3.55 meters plus for the main body of the spacecraft. That is well short of 4.5 - 5 meter space station to booster core diameter. So yes we are looking at two similar designs as a systems heritage design approach for the committed Chinese space station program.

LM-2F/G, LM-2F/H & LM-6 Redesigned Unmanned, & Manned Boosters

Forecast Planning Science & Technology Question

Where are the precursor hardware developments from these two five year plans (2001-2005 and 2006-2010) that are taking the baby crawling steps and first stand up steps into the new science & technology requirements before stepping out front with the new medium heavy lift class Long March-5 launch vehicle? That is the question everybody should be asking well before now as I have suggested in the Long March-5 launch site discussions as I stated below:

“…… it is also recognized that Jiuquan could support the early elements of the LM-5 provided kerosene and Lox propellant farms are developed. Time will tell how this will evolve and this leaves some serious concerns over the program pacing verses what has been publicly discussed until very recently. China however stated recently that the LM-5 booster will be available to them with a first test launch in 2011 the beginning of the next five year plan after the present one in progress. This in turn indicates that the LM-5 will be flight tested only during the start of the next five year plan nearly a half five year plan behind the intended original schedule period 2008 through 2010 the last half of the present five year plan.” We now know that the Long March-5 proper has been delayed a full five year plan into the next five year plan (2011-2015) but elements of it will be flight tested as predicted here.

That is where are the “building block approach steps” leading to the Long March-5 has been the issue openly unanswered for these two five year plans? That has in fact been answered via what is now identified by Chief Designer Jin Muchun of CALT, (China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology) as the Long March-2F/G, Long March-2F/H and Long March-6 launch vehicles. They are modernizing and phasing in the higher performance Kerosene/Lox & Lox/Hydrogen propellants, hardware, and engines as a “building block approach” to the in development Long March-5 medium heavy lift booster. (35)

This is nothing less than a technology demonstration effort with increased payload capability for the manned space program providing for a fully instrumented and fully fueled manned Shenzhou spacecraft as well as an interim manned tended space laboratories module to sustain the Chinese space program national space planning goals. The fundamental development of this new hardware reflects the aggressive instrument of national policy in pushing the basic sciences to push the basic technologies to its fullest exploitation for the national economy and national defense of the PRC China.

Last of the Long March-2F Series

The last of the Long March-2F series of manned flight boosters was successfully flown on September 25, 2008 on its last of eighth flight carrying the Shenzhou-7 manned spacecraft. It is now understood that this is the last time the Chinese intend to use this large storable propellant launch vehicle for manned flight launches because its payload capacity has been essentially exhausted as apply demonstrated when closely examining the development seen to date. In order to accommodate the full design capability still in development during the last five year plan China had to move to a more capable launch vehicle then in the design development pending successful engine development completion. It was quite revealing that in the last five year plan China decided not to introduce new then in development advanced spacecraft instrumentation because they were not ready to accommodate it in the program at that time removing the manned spaceflight delays then incurred. The way has now been cleared for that instrumentation to now be flown in the Shenzhou program.

Do Not Underestimate the Impact

Do not underestimate the impact of this new booster spacecraft series on the development requirements and overall program impact. It is no small step to change from a highly toxic so called storable propellant Long March-2F to the cryogenic liquid oxygen and storable kerosene hydrocarbon fuels based Long March-2F/G/H boosters with all it technological differences.

The launch vehicle design changes and associated vibration differences brought on by the different propellant densities and handling requirements utilized with the new closed cycle engines not the old open cycle engines makes a tremendous difference. Thus the changed booster spacecraft dynamic envelop launch environment because of those design changes dramatically impact such a program taking a considerable time to be successfully completed.

This also explains some of the hidden cost under expenditure issues observed of the underfunded stretched out program that the deliberately paced manned program has so far exhibited. In all probability the facilities infrastructure will be highly impacted by the new introduction of the liquid oxygen and kerosene propellants transport, handling, and storage facility requirements in addition to the direct impact on the facilities existing propellant plumbing. Probability the Chinese will introduce Soviet/Russian style railroad based logistic facilities infrastructure to support this new propellant farm and pad requirement. One wonders how much of the piping flush out operations in addition to outright piping tear out replacement in the launch facility pad, umbilical tower, and service swing arm fixtures will be required if any at all? Was this already taken into account when the facility was originally engineered years ago several five year plan back? Have those changes already taken place or are they in progress now?

In point of fact the facility is probably being left to accommodate both storable propellants as well as the new liquid oxygen and kerosene requirements. Inevitability the answers to these question is not so apparent in the open yet but may lie in the closed intelligence observations of such activity as the appearance of a new on site liquid oxygen production facility and the on pad venting of liquid oxygen easily observed by aircraft or UAV or space based sensor assets but not indicated the open source literature at present.

Intelligence Bulletin Warning Made Public

Because of these issues one should go so far as to suggest that perhaps some of the ground testing is in the advanced testing stage and one could also wonder if some of this new technology has not already been initially flight tested in country. This is along with all the other mid five year plan flight testing of new or improved ballistic missile systems known to have been carried out at a rate of one per week of late and ongoing in China. This is covered by the outstanding DSP program and SIGINT based early warning programs of the USAF. Certainly the US intelligence community has not been blind to these developments as reflected from the statements of the NASA administrator Michael Griffin on China space developments and future expectations. Certainly his regular intelligence briefings at the new NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C. and NASA community hardware assessments have helped shape those reflections much as they did for his predecessor the late James E. Webb during the Apollo run up and lunar race triumph.

Already in progress on going development do not just come from out of the blue vapor overnight but have a long ongoing development history lead by the Chinese YF-100 engine development testing that were delayed from successful completion from the last five year plan 2001-2005 into the present five year plan 2006-2010. It has also been learned that only during the middle of 2006 did China finally succeed in successfully test firing the new LOX/Kerosene propellant closed cycle YF-100 engine for the Long March-5 first stage.(4, 6) This was clearly the most critical program pacing element that had long been anticipated. This development finally allowed the Long March-5 to move forward with its long overdue launch infrastructure development during the middle of this five year plan through the middle of the next five year plan.

Multiple Five Year Plans Planning

China has laid out a four part space technology demonstration program primarily driven by military requirements that was first to perform successfully the basic technological task to make manned flight regularly possible to be followed by a spacecraft docking (phase two) the development of a rudimentary space laboratory (phase three) to eventually to be followed by a full phase four Salyut class space station effort by 2020 two five year plans down the road.

China’s Manned Lunar Aspiration is Greatly Enhanced by This New Booster Series

NASA's former director Michael Griffin before leaving office stated that he still believed that China could if it chooses fly a manned circumlunar mission by 2015 via earth orbital rendezvous with the new Long March -5 booster. This duel launch scenario would utilize the lunar variant of the Shenzhou spacecraft and a propulsion stage. However from design studies by Phillip S. Clark of the British Interplanetary Society it is known the Long March-5 booster could do the mission in a single launch. The point ultimately being if the Chinese geopolitical leadership so chooses it could demonstrate manned lunar capability with in the next five year plan.

China ’s piloted lunar aspiration is greatly enhanced by this new booster series because of the greater payload operational capacity giving greater margins for flexibility to the overall space logistics capability. China has expressed the policy that its manned lunar landing planning has been delayed to the 2021-2025 time frame three five year plans down the road and that it will not be introduced into the forecast five year plan for development until 2011. But lunar circumnavigation or lunar orbit missions are another matter not openly discussed that could in principle be carried out anytime during the next two five year plans 2011-2020 once docking is demonstrated in 2010 and into 2011. Interestingly many areas in the planning details between 2010-2015 remain unfilled based on the next two five year plans versus the previous and present five year plans discussed publicly suggesting the development of another manned related program yet to be acknowledged openly. This is expected to become more clarified as the end of the present five year plan December 30, 2010 approaches and the next five year plan is introduced January 1, 2011.

The recent Politburo’s decisions accelerating this space missions and the space program plans forward almost by a full month may be a strong indicator of the importance of the present and next five year planning has taken precedents within it members from the back grounders received. The first apparent acknowledgement of an in progress consideration of this early possibility of a PRC Chinese manned lunar effort in the not to distant future may have been revealed officially in SpaceDaily.com from Beijing by AFP when it quoted Wang Zhaoyao:

"It now has its sights on a manned mission to the moon and a space station, said Wang Zhaoyao, spokesman for the manned space programme. 'We believe that as long as we can make further progress in science and technology, we can achieve the dream of a manned space flight to the moon in the near future,' he told reporters after the Shenzhou VII's return." (11)

Up to now there had only been indications of considerations of this possibility as previously noted but this flight may have cleared it for official planning within this five year plan for actual development and implementation within the next two five year plans based on the available systems already in hand or in development as previously noted in the URL links above. Presumably this will involve a manned lunar circumnavigation mission and lunar orbit missions. This reconfirms the red flag to what NASA administrator Griffin has publicly stated as threatening US space leadership and the associated policy issues. There is little doubt that the CIA, DNI provided background briefing on China’s space activities and relater international space issues is having its impact.

The Space Laboratory Priority

China is clearly marching to its own drummer doing its thing on the world stage for its own purposes. I still believe that China driven by its State military requirements will give priority to the space laboratory, station effort over the lunar effort but China’s Politburo leadership may have decided to take advantage of its world stage opportunity in the coming years at the USA ‘s expense. Thus the limited manned lunar effort is possible.

Basically we now have the PRC China manned spaceflight planning laid out for the next three five year plans including this five year plan (2010) 2011-2025 which reflects how China intends to both equal or pull ahead of any of the then to exist world powers on the world stage in manned spaceflight as a part of its doctrinal belief that it can replace one of those world powers on the world stage towards the end of that period. Whether like Russia in its present economic bubble that will not last the question is can China truly economically control and sustain this attempt remains uncertain.

Policy Issues

In all of these international cooperative missions are a clear Chinese attempt to circumvent the lack of cooperation with the United States in space by seeking out cooperation where it can make some reasonable progress with nations it is already associated. However, until China signs and enforces the Missile Technology Control Regime and Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty it will continue to be stopped from launching US based satellites or US made satellite components placed in foreign satellites greatly reducing its commercial satellite launching opportunities. This is especially the case in the face of the known documented proliferation activity with Pakistan ’s, North Korea ’s as well as Iran ’s both nuclear and missile weapons of mass destruction systems. There is no way the United States is going to consider much less permit China to be a part of the ISS program as long as it continues to violate the Missile Technology Control Regime in spite of it having introduced new MTCR rules. To do otherwise would undermine the US position and capabilities. The lack of commercial satellite contracts has had a high impact on the supplemental financing of the Chinese space program bringing considerable complaints from them. The recent (ASAT) Anti Satellite Test flight did not help their case in the world’s eyes.

Economic Reality Check

The space industry complains according to the Institute of Policy management of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) that it is being stymied by a lack of Western investment and not enough educated high technology resources (personnel) along with inadequate new infrastructure. (3) In reality the industry and government policies are to blame for the real economic ills of the defense, missile and space industry of China . These Chinese underfunded stretched out space programs under this last five year plan 2001-2005 can now be explained as being based in China’s over performing economic problems. It is not helped by it product dumping on the world market or buy its excessive production of steel some five times as much as the US produces or their production of three submarines for each one the US produces and the production of 5,000 merchant ships verses the US, 300 a year for but a few examples. (10) This by definition is war time production scale efforts to keep the command economy employment going that no capitalist economy would tolerate. We now know that China ’s economy is in fact in serious trouble facing possible collapse from to much success in the Western economic zones which underscores the conflict between a capitalist economy versus a command economy. This is driven by the policy that over emphasis to many personnel, factory development and production capacity with considerable savings ie: emphasizing civil military technology development far in excess of what is needed without emphasizing the basic sciences in an appropriate proportion along with failure to reform the defense industries.

The defense industries are supported by its command economy base which has no relationship with a capitalist financed based economy both of which are operating in China and are utterly incompatible. This is the formula that helped collapse the former Soviet Union when it put its emphasis on technological development over the basic sciences from the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. By the mid-1960’s the former Soviet Union knew it was in economic trouble but did not reform itself. In the recent past the Chinese leadership has admitted that if they had not reformed that part of the civil duel purpose economy they did that brought in Western economic investment that the Chinese economy would have collapsed. The in compatibility of the Western style capitalist economy with China ’s five year plan, fiscal command economy has been colliding for some time now with serious future implications now becoming apparent. Under China ’s command economy which in theory must employ everybody under the same government employer roof, the defense industry and general civil dual purpose industry seems to have excess personnel for to few jobs while it is set up for war time production capability which is very incompatible with a capitalist economy. China is also very dependent on foreign oil sources for its economy leaving it vulnerable to external influence as is also the United States . How this is impacting their civil military space programs has so far only begun to manifest itself with several major front line Science & Technology projects planning schedules impacted by major full five year plan slip in the planning schedule. This means that China is finding itself only marginally able to support these projects economically even though they are leading edge of S&T projects. Little wonder now that the present 11 th, five year plan 2006-2010 is putting much more emphasis in the development of the basic sciences to offset these economic failings in the Chinese economy. (1) See Physics Today December 2006 for China ’s “Outlook 15 year plan” in S & T and its “10 year Forecast plan” beyond the present “five year plan”.

Why is this possible?

"According to James T. Westwood, senior consultant at Military Science and Defense Analytics, Unionville VA, in 1978, while employed as a senior special research analyst for one of the three-letter national intelligence agencies, he discovered and soon crystallized into application a novel, original technique for interpreting and predicting all of the military and space programs of the now former Soviet Union with consistent accuracy and reliability. This was, he said, the "great plan," the GOSPLAN. He said that CIA failed again in a systemic and incredible manner ever to be able to reliably predict the strategic behavior of the former Soviet Union in terms of "reverse analysis," to wit, reading the tea leaves from the native, bureaucratic Soviet perspective --planning and projecting on the same basis and by same method as did the former USSR. There came from this, numerous applications and non-surprises, e.g., that the ballistic missile programs, with their space rockets off-shoots (to coin a phrase), were arguably the most reliable and revealing among the hundreds of armor, aircraft, ship, artillery, etc. military hardware and operations programs- "In a recent interview with this author, Westwood says that to the extent that the military programs of the PRC long may have replicated the former Soviet Union's national planning schema, the same methodology likely can be successfully used to illuminate China's enigma in this century." This short write up demonstrated that capability to understand China. (1)

He hoped, this magnificent blunder is not now being repeated with respect to the Peoples' Republic of China, Iran and North Korea . Because the current, active PRC, North Korean and more recently Iranian national planning scheme is based on the former Soviet model and is running now in phase for over a half-century, Westwood emphasized, it should not be a problem to draw a matrix and populate it in detail from 1953 on in order to have, at long suffering last, a reliable analytic tool for interpreting and forecasting Chinese weapons, space, energy and a host of other, important, national programs and projects -- in planning now, and in the recent past, for pay-off in the future. The present author was taught this methodology by Westwood in a Continuing Engineering Education short course at the George Washington University in the late 1980’s.

China’s willingness to accept private public tenders funding to finance and support and participate in the unmanned lunar rover planned for around 2012 and lunar sample return mission planned for around 2017 effort is another serious sign that this S & T program is underfunded and seriously stretched out over the primary State programs for launch vehicle, spacecraft and new infrastructure development. (17, 20) China is endeavoring to complete the design studies for the second and third generation unmanned lunar spacecraft by the end of the present five year plan 2006-2010. (21) The Long March-5 will not be ready for the 2012 launch of the planned Chinese lunar rover Lander payload which will apparently launched on the Long March -3B booster. (29)

The Question is why are the Chinese Space Programs Not Receiving a Higher Share in the Command Economy Expenditures of Materials, New Facilities Infrastructure, Equipment and Highly Educated Trained Personnel Manpower Under the Last Two Five Year Plans?

  When reviewing the Annual Report To Congress Military Power of the Peoples Republic of China 2006 other open source information on the Chinese space programs the full five year plan slip of the under funded stretched out, lack of higher expenditures of materials, new facilities infrastructure, equipment and highly educated trained personnel manpower is a certain indicator that there is much more going on inside the Chinese new strategic solid propellant missile programs than is generally known to the public.

Today they are averaging as many as one or more R & D flight test of new or improved up rated systems or training shots per week out of their ballistic missile ranges implying that China has adapted the Soviet era philosophy of early field deployments of developmental systems to define the problems, solutions and to accelerate the systems maturing to operational status. Thus we see repeated flights that finally succeed after several failures as the systems issues are resolved. The latest example of this is the two or three flight attempts, failures prior to the successful ASAT demonstration by China recently. It has also been exhibited in the CSS-3, 3A/DF-4, 4A flight test failures while carrying out MRV development test, and the K-1 satellite launch related attempts of the same solid-fueled, road-mobile mobile DF-31 (IOC in 2006) and DF-31A ICBMs (IOC 2007) systems flight test failures and subsequent successes. Ultimately the goal is to replace the liquid-fueled CSS-3, 3A and CSS-4/DF-5 ICBMs, which constitute China’s primary nuclear means of holding the continental U.S. targets at risk with the DF-31A ICBM (IOC 2007) and in development DF-41 larger ICBM systems some time in the next two five year plans. This is why the Long March-5 medium heavy lift space booster and its new infrastructure have not taken priority but will in the next five year plan. This is typically precisely what was to be expected in the middle of the present five year plan as the known expected or projected systems near maturity undergoing impressive flight testing. This is a typical example of the fiscal Five Year Plan cyclic nature.

As John E. Pike, President of Globalsecurity.org says, it is as if China was in near war time production of missiles far beyond its needs in what amounts to the largest missile production rate seen since the Cold War. Chinese medium range systems have been in continuous R&D and deployment for the last two five year plan with the most vivid system aimed at covering part of Taiwan with new longer range improved up rated MRBM system probably being developed to cover all of Taiwan.

These are not the only overall Chinese acquired or new general military hardware developments ongoing in the Chinese armed forces force modernization under its present duel purpose Science & Technology five year planning 2006 through 2010. It is interesting to note that Iran and North Korea are the countries that get the most publicity for the military developments but it is China that is in fact the most active in these endeavors. The answer to these intelligence questions on these military developments ultimately lies in the realm of the political policy answers.

References:

1. As I was taught at George Washington University and the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association courses on Soviet Economics Military S & T Prospects by James T. Westwood, Military Science and Defense Analytics, Unionville, Virginia,

2. http://www.eetasia.com/ARTP_8800452157_499488.HTM , Bu John Walko, China ’s Bediou Satellite to Challenge GPS, Galileo, Feb. 07, 2007 .

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12. http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/China_To_Pursue_Space_Instead_Of_Socialism_999... 3/29/2007 , By Andrei Kislyakov, RIA Novosti political commentator, Moscow March 28, 2007

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28. http://www.spacedaily.com.reports/President_Hu_China_Joins_Nations_With_Capability... 12/13/2007, Xinhua News Agency, Beijing , (XNA) China

29 . China May Use Long March 3 for Lunar Landing, Xinhua News Agency, Beijing, (XNA) China, http://www.space-travel.com/reports/China_May_Use_Long_March_3_For_Lunar_Landin..., 11/6/2007

30. US military admits “Limited” understanding of Chinese aims, Space War, 3-12-08 http://www.spacewar.com/reports/US military admits limited understanding of Chinese…

31. Officials Cites Uncertainty Over Chinese Space Intentions, by Jim Garamone, American Forces Press Services, Armed Forces Information Service, May 28, 2008 . http://www.globalsecurity.org/space/library/news/2008/space-080521-afps01.htm

32. Lydia Chen, Space laboratory the next target for China, ShanghaiDaily.com, http://www.shangaidaily.com, September 22, 2008 pp. 1-2.

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37. Ricker, Thomas, China's Tiangong 1 space station unveiled for tiny Taikonauts, http://www.engadget.com ,January 26, 2009, p. 1-2.

38. Chinas To Launch 15 to 16 Satellites In 2009, Beijing (XNA), Spacedaily.com., March 10, 2009, p.1-2.

39. Shenzhen To Buiold 4 To 5 Satellites Every Year, Beijing (XNA), Space Daily.com., March 4, 2009, P. 1-2.

40. Meisner, M. 1977. Mao’s. China: A History of the People's Republic, New York: The Free Press,

41. BBC/CNN, 1998, Cold War, (a 24-part series cablecast in 1993, available today on six DVD’s) segment number 15: "China, 1949-1972," i.e., from the Communist ascendency to the state visit by U.S. President Richard M, Nixon.



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