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DFH#7: Shenzhou-12 crewed launch, Moon Bases and other pieces of news

The Dongfang Hour
The Dongfang Hour
Your Weekly China Space Industry Summary, with a touch of eccentricity and some attempts at humor. By Blaine Curcio and Jean Deville, and with editing by Orbital Gateway Consulting Intern Aurélie Gillet

What's up in Chinese Space this Week?
In this week’s Newsletter Issue #7 covering 14 - 20 June 2021, we discuss the following:
  1. Crewed launch of Shenzhou-12 to the Tianhe core module of the Chinese space station
  2. China and Russia reveal a roadmap for International Lunar Research Station
  3. Three Yaogan satellites put into orbit by a Long March-2C rocket
  4. Tianbing Aerospace has completed the assembly of its Tiansuo-1 (天梭一号) prototype rocket
  5. Hengda Technology to develop satellite smart city applications
  6. US Senate meeting on the 2022 budget appropriations for NASA
  7. Global Space Exploration Conference (GLEX 2021) held in St Petersburg this week
  8. CNSA update on decaying 2nd stage of LM-7
  9. A Naming Contest for Zhurong’s Mars Selfie
  10. Seazen Group (新城控股) announces collaboration with CAST-subsidiary Shenzhou Aerospace Culture & Media Co. (中国航天神舟传媒)
  11. Shandong Province releases plans for monthly remote sensing data collection
1) Crewed launch of Shenzhou-12 to the Tianhe core module of the Chinese space station
On June 17, the Shenzhou-12 crewed mission was successfully launched into space at 9:22am, Beijing time, by a Long March 2F rocket. On-board was a team of three taikonauts, composed of Nie Haisheng (mission commander), Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo. At 3:54 pm Chinese time, 6 hours and 32 minutes after the launch, Shenzhou-12 docked successfully with the forward docking hub of the Tianhe core module. Both the launch and the docking were broadcasted live.
China & Russia Announce Roadmap for Lunar Station, Shenzhou-12 Docks with Tianhe Core Module - Ep 38
During the next three months, the crew will perform four main tasks: 1) verification and operation of all Tianhe core systems and their interactions; 2) engage in extravehicular activity (EVA); 3) carry out scientific experiments and 4) daily exercise and health monitoring to stay fit.
At a press conference on June 16th, China’s CMSEO announced that the country was looking to develop International collaboration over the Chinese space station. It seems like China is very keen to give an international cooperation framework to its large-scale missions.
2) China and Russia reveal a roadmap for International Lunar Research Station
On the third day of the Global Space Exploration Conference 2021 taking place in St Petersburg from June 14 to June 18, China and Russia jointly revealed a roadmap for a future International Lunar Research Station (ILRS). This included a video published by CNSA and Roscosmos (in English), where the narrator gives homage to previous missions such as Apollo-11, but also mentions that, “this time, we come with greater courage, stronger determination, and more ambitious goals, and we are no longer satisfied with simple visits, we are here for the long-term exploration”.
The ILRS project will be carried out in three phases: 1) Reconnaissance (2021-2025), 2) Construction (2030-2035) and 3) Utilization (to begin in 2036). The overall scientific objectives include research on and exploration of lunar geological structure, lunar physics and internal structure, cislunar space environment, as well as lunar resources in-situ utilization. The roadmap also reveals cooperation opportunities for potential international partners; it seems like the ILRS is increasingly looking like a full-fledged competitor to the US-led Artemis program. Final note: there seems to be a “Phase 1.5” between 2026-2030, when the two countries will perform verification missions to ensure the data collected during the Reconnaissance phase is reliable and their plans are optimal.
3) Three Yaogan satellites put into orbit
相隔29小时!长二丙火箭送遥感三十号09组卫星精确入轨
A Long March-2C put 3x Yaogan satellites into orbit on 18 June, with this being the 6th Yaogan launch of 2021, following an earlier 4x launches of 3 Yaogan satellites each, and the launch of a single Yaogan satellite on 30 April. The launch also included the Tianqi-14 satellite launched for Chengdu-based Guodian Gaoke, with the satellite also called “JiaxingSat” (嘉兴号), referring to the city of Jiaxing in Zhejiang Province. One day prior to the launch, we saw a naming ceremony between Guodian Gaoke and the Government of Jiaxing, where the parties agreed to use the satellite/constellation to develop smart city, “urban brain”, and other applications.
4) Tianbing Aerospace has completed the assembly of its Tiansuo-1 (天梭一号) prototype rocket stage
蓄势待飞!天兵科技可重复使用试验箭“天梭一号”总装圆满完成
Tianbing Aerospace (aka Space Pioneer) announced that it had completed the assembly of its Tiansuo-1 (天梭一号) prototype rocket stage on 16 June. The Tiansuo-1 is a first stage demonstrator which will aim at verifying several key technologies that will be core to Tianbing’s future Tianlong rocket, including reusability.
5) Hengda Technology to develop satellite smart city applications
Hengda Technology (a.k.a Eternity Tech or 恒达科技) announced on June 7th the development of satellite smart city applications based on its “Golden Bauhinia” optical & SAR EO constellation project, first announced in 2020 by Hong-Kong Aerospace and Technology Group (HKATG). The announcement also mentioned that development work on satellite manufacturing, launch and TT&C would also debut. Worth noting, Hengda Technology is a Chinese company listed in Hong-Kong, and over which HKATG gained control in April 2021 for 287 million HKD.
6) US Senate meeting on the 2022 budget appropriations for NASA
The US Senate’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, held a meeting on 16 June on the 2022 budget appropriations for NASA. The meeting contained a handful of remarks by NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, among others, on the topic of US/China, with most of the remarks aimed at encouraging more US investment into space to counter China’s rapid ascent. Nelson noted that China is a “very aggressive space competitor”, and brought attention to the upcoming announcement on 17 June (day after the committee meeting) of Sino-Russian cooperation. We also heard that Vice President Kamala Harris will be visiting NASA Goddard Space Center in the coming weeks.
7) Global Space Exploration Conference (GLEX 2021) held in St Petersburg
IAF : The Global Space Exploration Conference 2021
The Global Space Exploration Conference (GLEX 2021) was held in St Petersburg, Russia this week. We saw some noteworthy announcements on China-Russia space collaboration, including the above-mentioned ILRS plans. Other announcements included plans by Russia to launch crew members to the Chinese Space Station, either from Vostochny or Kourou, this according to Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin. 
8) CNSA update on decaying 2nd stage of LM-7
公告|长征七号遥三运载火箭末级残骸已再入大气层
CNSA has been publishing regular updates of the decaying 2nd stage of the Long March 7, which re-entered the atmosphere on June 15th in the Pacific Ocean. While this news is not something spectacular, it is notable that there is a major shift in communication policy (regular updates), as opposed to the silence of Chinese authorities when the 1st stage of the Long March 5B launching the Tianhe core module re-entered the atmosphere in early May 2021.
9) A Naming Contest for Zhurong’s Mars Selfie
On June 15, a contest was launched to choose a name for the Martian selfie. From the 500 names proposed by the public, 30 have been selected for the final voting round; the votes could be cast from June 15 to 18. Prizes will be given to the 10 most popular names. China surely knows how to foster interest from Chinese citizens!
10) Seazen Group (新城控股) announces collaboration with CAST-subsidiary Shenzhou Aerospace Culture & Media Co. (中国航天神舟传媒)
中国航天神舟传媒&吾悦广场航天文化推广发布大会在重庆举办--经济・科技--人民网
Large real estate and shopping mall group Seazen (新城控股) announced a collaboration with CAST-subsidiary Shenzhou Aerospace Culture & Media Co. (中国航天神舟传媒) to establish space-themed cultural outreach stations in over 100+ Wuyue malls around the country. This comes in the context of an increasing popularity of space exploration and the space industry more generally in China, and many large B2C companies have incorporated space-themed products and events in their business. Wanda Group’s Shiguang Network (时光网) for example established in 2020 a 5-year collaboration with Shenzhou Aerospace Culture & Media for space-themed product licenses (covering wearables, outreach stations, marketing purposes).
11) Shandong Province releases plans for monthly remote sensing data collection
Shandong Province releases plans for a monthly airborne + satellite remote sensing data release system. The system is meant to cover the entire province, and aims to have a resolution of 0.5m by 2022, and 0.2m by 2023. Noteworthily, there is seemingly significant endorsement by the Shandong Provincial Department of Natural Resources towards satellite remote sensing data. At the moment, the Shandong Government has reached around 2m resolution for the entire province, having collected monthly 2m resolution-level data on 97.2% of the province’s land area during Q1 2021.
This has been another episode of the Dongfang Hour China Aero/Space News Roundup. If you’ve made it this far, we thank you for your kind attention, and look forward to seeing you next time! Until then, don’t forget to follow us on YouTube, Twitter, or LinkedIn, or your local podcast source. 
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