Observer: China takes giant steps in space exploration
By Feng Hua and Du Yifei
People's Daily app

China's space program has made remarkable strides in recent years, from achieving extended stays in orbit and launching its Mars exploration mission, to upgrading launch vehicles and retrieving lunar samples with the Chang'e-5 probe. China’s space industry has entered a period of supercharged innovation.

China's progress towards a strong space presence is marked by major leaps in aerospace technology and significant improvements in launch capabilities, which reflect breakthroughs in space science and technology.

A commitment to independent innovation has driven China's success in aerospace. China focuses on self-reliance and self-improvement in science and technology as strategic support for its aerospace industry, achieving impressive results in major projects and significantly enhancing its overall strength.

China's three-step lunar exploration program — consisting of orbiting, landing, and sample retrieval — has concluded successfully. The Chang'e-4 probe made history by landing on the moon's far side, which is never visible from Earth, while Chang'e-5 completed China's first attempt at retrieving samples from an extraterrestrial body.

Construction of China's space station is now complete. Chinese astronauts carried out the country's first in-orbit crew rotation, handing off duties within the space station, marking the beginning of China's long-term presence in space.

The BeiDou-3 Navigation Satellite System, a major infrastructure project independently built and operated by China, has been put into operation. A separate high-resolution Earth observation system program was completed on schedule, enabling high-spatial-resolution, high-temporal-resolution and high-spectrum-resolution imaging.

China's Tianwen-1 probe is the first in the world to successfully complete an orbiting, landing, and rover exploration mission on Mars on its maiden attempt, making China a leader in planetary exploration.

China’s advances in aerospace technology mirror China's achievements in other areas and contribute to a better quality of life.

China has extensively implemented satellite communication, navigation, and remote sensing in sectors across its economy. China currently operates over 500 satellites in orbit, and its civil space infrastructure continues to improve.

Chinese communication satellites provide TV services to 140 million families in remote areas, and the country's high-throughput satellites enable internet services at speeds exceeding 100 megabytes at altitudes over 10,000 meters.

The BeiDou system serves more than seven million operational vehicles and 40,000 marine fishing boats. China's remote sensing satellites cater to more than 10,000 domestic clients and more than 100 foreign countries, enhancing emergency monitoring of major natural disasters worldwide.

Additionally, more than 2,000 aerospace technologies have been applied in the development of smart cities, smart energy, and smart robotics to better meet people's demands for an improved quality of life.

The peaceful utilization of space has always been a principle followed by China, and international exchange and cooperation remains a development direction of the country in its aerospace exploration.

China always upholds a vision of equality, mutual benefit, peaceful utilization, and inclusive development in its pursuit of aerospace advancements for the benefit of all humanity.

The China National Space Administration has established platforms to facilitate cooperation with international aerospace organizations, enterprises, and research departments.

For example, the Chang'e-4 probe carried international payloads from Germany, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, and Sweden, while China also collaborated with France and Austria during the Tianwen-1 mission. Such partnerships create opportunities for Chinese and foreign scientists to jointly explore space, conduct scientific experiments, and perform technical verification.

China has supported other developing countries in advancing their space science and research by building satellite research and development infrastructure in collaboration with countries such as Egypt, Pakistan and Nigeria. China is one of the few countries globally that exports satellites, adopting a strategy that encourages its enterprises to pursue international development.

China plans to collaborate with relevant countries, international organizations, and global partners to build an international lunar research station.

In the next five to 10 years, China will continue carrying out lunar projects, such as the Chang'e-6, Chang'e-7, and Chang'e-8 missions, which have all been planned. In addition, the country will keep launching planetary exploration missions, such as retrieving samples from an asteroid, a Mars sample-return mission, and a Jovian system exploration mission.

Exploring the vast universe is a shared dream of all humanity. As China continues to establish itself as a space power, it will contribute more to a better future for humankind with further achievements in space exploration and technology.