Jan. 14: Tianhe module
spacecraft pass flight acceptance review (CMSE
). Note: Tianhe was ready to go for 2018 before the Long March 5 (Y2) failure.
Jan. 18: 10 shortlisted names for Tianwen-1
Jan. 18: Notice
on Procedures for Requesting Lunar Samples from Chang'e-5
released by the CNSA
Jan. 19: CASIC’s 2nd Academy satellite intelligent factory opens, will be capable of producing 240+ small sats a year (China Daily
). Note: CASICs Wuhan Aerospace hub, also home to Expace and others, is beginning to take off.
Jan. 20: Chang’e-4
(嫦娥四号) lunar day 26 ended Jan. 20 (CLEP
). Yutu-2 has now covered 628.47 metres, meaning 27.92 m of driving in Day 26. Mission duration is now over 750 days since landing on the lunar far side on Jan. 3, 2019.
Jan. 20: Space Will
(航天世景), a company linked to CASC and an official remote sensing data distributor, announces partnership with U.S. SAR satellite firm Capella Space
(Chinese)). Capella Space did not respond to a request for comment.
Jan. 22: Yet-another-planned-LEO-constellation alert: “Tianxun
” (天巡) by Shanghai Beidou Satellite Navigation Platform Co., Ltd will consist of 72 satellites for a civil constellation for telecommunications and IoT sharing, navigation. Will target serving remote areas and Belt and Road countries. The company is linked to CASC subsidiary SAST. (CNS
Jan. 24: China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT), has constructed 3.35m prototype carbon composite tank. The prototype offers added strength while also reducing mass by up to 30 percent compared with aluminium alloy tanks (CALT
) – Note: CALT is one of two main rocket makers belonging to CASC, the other being SAST.
Jan. 25: Roscosmos
continues discussing joint Moon base with China (TASS
). Little new here, but a reiteration of ongoing talks that have sealed cooperation in the Chang'e-7 and Luna 26 missions.
Jan. 25: China to launch 7 Fengyun meteorological satellites across the 14th Five Year Plan. FY4B and FY3E to go up this year (SAST
Jan. 26: Carmaker Geely
officially launches an internet satellite project in Qingdao with a $637 million investment. This follows earlier announced plans for a LEO constellation for comms and augmenting navigation signals (Global Times
). GeeSpace wants to use lots of 130 kg sats for this, with a facility in Taizhou, Zhejiang province, capable of producing up to 500 satellites per year.
Date/time (UTC) Payloads Launcher Site Sources
- Jan. 12: iSpace to be listed on STAR Market (Jiemian, Global Times); Also: iSpace plans IPO, tests landing legs, (SpaceNews)
- Jan. 18: Beijing to introduce measures to support development of “south rockets, north satellites” (“南箭北星”) (Fortune) Info: subsidies for commercial rocket and satellite research and development, production, and launch operations. As name suggests, rocket cluster in the north of the city, satellites in the north.
- Jan. 19: 2nd Acadamy of CASIC opens satellite intelligent factory (CSN, 2, China Daily, Xinhua)
- Jan. 20: Methalox engine maker Jiuzhou Yunjian (九州云箭) closes undisclosed funding round (JZYJ). JZYJ in 2019 signed a deal to provide Linkspace (翎客航天) with engines for development of its VTVL rockets. Silence from the latter ever since…
- Jan. 21: Deep Blue Aerospace conducts structural tests on Nebula-1 first stage propellant tank (DBA). This followed a wet dress rehearsal of the Nebula-M test stage ahead of hop tests for the larger, VTVL kerolox Nebula-2.
- Jan. 22: Aerospace Propulsion tests 2000N liquid RCS engine (Weixin) 22.01
- Jan. 23: Commsat (九天微星) satellite factory in Tangshan on List of Hebei Key Construction Projects (Commsat). Also see Dongfang Hour’s discussion with Commsat’s Dong Lu.
- Jan. 26: How Landspace attracted 2.6 billion yuan in five years (36Kr): How 400-employee-strong firm is moving ahead and aims to supplement the “National team” of CASC et al.
- Jan. 27: CAS Space ground tests of engines, wind tunnel and more (CAS Space)
- Jan. 28: Zhuque-2 fairing separation test (Landspace, tweet)
Aerospace Propulsion tests 600N bipropellant engine
- Jan. 30: Landspace 400-sec tests of TQ-12 80tn engine (Weixin, Bilibili (video))
Zhongguancun establishes Commercial Aerospace Alliance. Info: Zhongguancun Science City in northwestern Beijing aims to foster an aerospace cluster. Support will come through policy support for enterprises, investment funds, rental assistance, R&D subsidies, household registration assistance for skills, and more. Links: Sina
Myths and Realities of China’s Military-Civil Fusion Strategy
(CNAS): Excellent, timely look at MCF, which has attracted a lot of attraction and hype. MCF is a key cog in efforts to foster China’s commercial space sector, allowing transfers of tech, expertise and so on. To give context: “China’s defense sector has been primarily dominated by sclerotic state-owned enterprises that remain walled off from the country’s dynamic commercial economy. At its core, MCF is intended as a remedy to this problem.” The article looks at myths and strengths and weaknesses of MCF but is not particularly focused on space.
Eye on 2022 (Part 1): Rising Stars in the Provinces
(MacroPolo): A look at three former aerospace figures who have since risen through the Party ranks. There is a longstanding notion that aerospace officials, such as former CNSA/SASTIND heads Xu Dazhe and Ma Xingrui, have done well due to good records; corruption and corner-cutting would have otherwise been apparent in failure, given the extremely demanding nature of rocketry (e.g. SCMP, 2017
Yuanwang-22 sets off for Tianjin (…to collect a CZ-7A?) (tweet
GECAM (Gravitational Wave High-energy Electromagnetic Counterpart All-sky Monitor) detects first Gamma-ray bursts, sends info to ground in minutes using BDS-3 to allow for followup observations (Tweet
Two SAST projects selected as pilot demo projects for integration of manufacturing & Internet development by MIIT (SAST
Long March 8 debris discovered off Indonesia (Weibo
Feb. 5 (~15:30 UTC): Long March 3B launch from Xichang, possibly carrying Tianhui-3. Note: Curiously, earlier Tianhui remote sensing satellites have gone to SSO, so rumours are this could be a synthetic aperture radar satellite intended for GEO…
Feb. 10: Tianwen-1 to enter Mars orbit.
Feb. 17 (18th UTC): Reading the Tea Leaves: Deciphering the Chinese Space Industry (SSPI, webcast
Feb. 23: Report Release Event: Lost Without Translation: Identifying Gaps in U.S. Perceptions of the Chinese Commercial Space Sector (Secure World Foundation