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NAIC-ID(RS)T-0182-96 


NATIONAL AIR INTELLIGENCE CENTER 



SOME PROGRESS BY CHINA IN THE AREA OF SPACE SCIENCES 

by 

Wang Daheng 



19961004 146 


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MAIC. ID(RS)T-0182-96 


HUMAN TRANSLATION 

NAIC-ID(RS)T-0182-96 20 August 1996 

MICROFICHE NR: 

SOME PROGRESS BY CHINA IN THE AREA OF SPACE SCIENCES 
By: Wang Daheng 
English pages: 9 

Source: Zhongguo Hangtian (Aerospace China), Nr. 190, 
February 1994; pp. 13-16 

Country of origin: China 
Translated by: SC ITRAN 

F33657-84-D-0165 

Requester: NAIC/TASS/Scott D. Feairheller 
Approved for public release: distribution unlimited. 


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1 



SOME PROGRESS BY CHINA IN THE AREA OF SPACE SCIENCES 

Wang Daheng 

What is discussed here is not only the development of space 
technology itself or scientific and technical questions due to 
the development of technology which need solving. The emphasis 
is, however, on making a summary description of the 
accomplishments which have been achieved by space technology with 
regard to developments which it has promoted in other scientific 
fields. 


I. Remote Sensing and Observations of the Earth 


What is spoken of here as remote sensing refers primarily to 
the use of optics or electromagnetic radiation to acquire imagery 
information from above the earth (including aircraft and 
satellites) with regard to surface structures (for example, 
jungle, cultivated land, deserts, as well as arid land, the 
geomorphology of mountains and rivers, and regimen). It is 
different from traditional high altitude photography. The 
detection means it makes use of include photography as well as 
modern photoelectric sensors. It is not only capable of 
observing the profiles of surface structures. It is also capable 
of making use of spectral characteristics associated with surface 
objects (including electromagnetic radiation) in order to 
identify the make up of objects. Speaking in terms of forms, 
precise determinations are carried out with regard to the 
position and form at each point on the surface of the earth. In 
conjunction with this, spectral identification analyses are done. 

The area of China's national territory is vast. It is criss 
crossed with mountains and rivers. Getting a clear grasp of the 
natural state of the surface is a matter of months and years. In 
the past, in order to carry out pannational surveys associated 
with the utilization of national territory, it was necessary to 
use several decades of time. Due to changes in the situation, 
data which surveys obtained was usually obsolete. With the high 
tide of construction at the present time, changes are very rapid. 

How to obtain global imagery which reflects the current situation 
in a timely manner is a big problem. China still has large areas 
which are criss crossed by mountains and rivers and are difficult 
regions to set foot in. In the past, making use of aerial 
photography resolved a number of problems. Moreover, at the 
present time, making use of resource satellites to do space 
remote sensing, it is then possible to take a broad, far reaching 
view—very, very greatly improving the timeliness of information 
photographed on the surface. 

As far as Chinese remote sensing at the present time is 
concerned, information data sources lie in several areas. 


X. 



1. From Imagery or Video Tape Acquired from Foreign 
Resource and Land Satellites. These satellites include the U.S. 
LANDSAT, the French Sibote (phonetic), the European Space 
Agency's Global Resources Satellite, as well as Japan's Resources 
Satellite. These satellites periodically photograph geographical 
information on a global scale. There are some differences in 
surface resolution—in accordance with different spectral wave 
bands and satellite types—from 10 meters to 70 meters. 

2. From Foreign Satellite Remote Sensing Data Acquired by 
the Use of a Resources Satellite Surface Receiving Station Set Up 
Through Foreign Assistance by China in 1986. 

3. From Information Acquired in a Timely Manner by Foreign 
as well as Our Own Metrological Satellites. This is primarily 
atmospheric and oceanic survey data. Resolutions are generally 1 
kilometer. It is also capable of being used in order to 
distinguish large area surface informaton—for example, jungle 
fires, and so on. On the basis of international metrological 
satellite treaties, this type of information must be shared with 
the world. To this end, China has set up three surface stations 
on the ground—in Beijing, Urumqi, and Guangzhou. As a result, 
data obtained is capable of covering the entire nation and 
adjoining regions. In the weather forecast programs which are 
broadcast every day, the satellite metrological cloud maps which 
we are seeing are obtained in just this way. 

Generally, in order to precisely analyze and understand 
surface situations, the various types of information discussed 
above must also go through modern imagery information processing. 

To this end, there is a need to use integrated equipment 
associated with complicated optics, electronics, and large 
capacity electronic computers. Only then is it possible to 
obtain the particularly fine imagery needed. 

The status of China's remote sensing and earth observation 
operations is roughly as follows. 

1. Metrological Operations. Atmospheric information 
obtained from metrological satellites includes various types of 
atmospheric and surface elements. Moreover, they are provided in 
a comparatively timely manner. With international assistance, 
China set up satellite metrology centers. Besides providing 
source material for weather forecasts each day, they are also 
used in order to carry out research work on such things as 
atmospheric circulation—for example, typhoon formation and East 
Asian atmospheric kinetics. These things are all related to 
agricultural crops and precautions against natural calamities. 
Recently, the Milky Way No.2 large model electronic computer 
which was developed by China on her own (operational speed of 1 
billion iterations/second) was used, for the first time, in the 


% 



calculation of weather forecasts. The objective is to extend the 
time periods during which forecasts are possible and to improve 
accuracy. /14 


2. Geographical Map Making. As far as the making of maps 
is concerned, it is dependent on large amounts of measured 
coordinate data and survey materials associated with measured 
benchmarks. After that, symbols and colors act as indicators to 
make them with. Due to the fact that numbers of operations are 
huge, the nation has, therefore, set up specialized agencies in 
order to handle this work. However, this is not a matter which 
can be finished once and for all. The activities of mankind and 
changes in the natural environment will all lead to maps needing 
timely revisions. With regard to developments associated with 
the economic situation, requirements for completeness and 
timeliness in maps will also get higher and higher. The use of 
remote sensing technology in the preparation of maps can then 
very, very greatly shorten preparation time periods. Making use 
of this type of technology is also capable of bringing into play 
the advantages of remote sensing imagery—displaying maps in 
accordance with natural landscapes—and is not completely 
converted to symbols. In recent years, China has achieved 
success in preparing pannational, full size satellite 
photographic maps. To this end, since 1970, approximately 2000 
frames of space imagery materials have been collected—acquired 
from different satellites—covering the range of China's 
territory. From among these, 584 frames were selected. With 
respect to them, there were differences in the time periods they 
were taken from. However, due to the fact that the greatest 
efforts possible were made to select information from the same 
season, it made landscapes possess seasonal consistency. Through 
complicated digitized imagery processing, mosaics were formed 
into a complete pannational color map. The scale is 1:1000000. 
Moreover, mosaics achieved flawless results. The full map area 
is 6x6 square meters. Besides this, corresponding 1:2500000 and 
1:4000000 maps as well as 1:1000000 land utilization maps of the 
whole country were produced. In addition, land type maps and 
grassland resource maps were also prepared. This is a great 
achievement by our country in making use of space remote sensing 
in the areas of map preparation as well as development and 
utilization. 

3. Environmental Surveys. As far as international 
cooperation with regard to combined global environmental 
monitoring is concerned, China is in the midst of engaging in 
regional research. In the Yangtze River valley and the Yellow 
River valley, stress is laid on regimen monitoring, land 
utilization, as well as the differentiation of economic areas. 

In the northwest region, particular emphasis is laid on the areas 
of grassland dessication characteristics, deserts, and 


3 


d@s6]r'ti.£i.ca'ti.oii. In the cese of the Qi.nghai“Til)et plete&u^ such 
research is done as on the metrological environment as well as 
geomorphological characteristics, and so on. We already make use 
of space remote sensing materials to carry out scientific 
research associated with such things as economic planning with 
regard to the Yellow River-Huai River-maritime region, grassland 
surveys of the northwest region, loess plateau soil erosion, as 
well as forestation results associated with the three northern 
protected forests. A series of results have been obtained having 
reference value in economic terms. ^ 

4. Disaster Monitoring. In 1987, the Daxingan Range gave 
rise to a great forest fire. Its broken up nature was 
discovered, first of all, by metrological satellite observations 
of the surface. After that, comparatively detailed imagery of 
the fire path was obtained from satellite surface stations, 
providing information for command and control associated with the 
fire situation. With regard to forest damage situations after 
great fires, these are also obtained by analysis of satellite 
remote sensing data, and samplings done for results conforming to 
typical on site surveys, thereby supplying a scientific basis for 
management after disasters. At the present time, forest 
management departments already use space monitoring to act as a 
routine measure associated with forest fire prevention. In 
conjunction with this, practical results have already been 
achieved. 

We are cooperating with Japan and will distribute data 
associated with test measurement stations at crucial locations. 

At times when satellites cross over borders, transmissions are 
made up to satellites. After that, recoveries are made at 
command centers to carry out commands. This is nothing else than 
the satellite data collection system. In 1990 and 1991, when the 
Yellow River and Yangtze River valleys gave rise to flood 
disasters, we used airborne microwave radars to carry out remote 
sensing tests. (This type of remote sensing means is not subject 
to limitations associated with overcast and rain, is all weather, 
and is appropriate for use in playing a role when one has the 
appearance of bad weather and flood disasters). Through data 
analysis and processing, communications satellites take 
information and send it to the flood fighting headquarters. It 
is possible to get imagery displays within 5 hours. It is, thus, 
possible to make use of geographical information prepared in 
normal times relying on satellite remote sensing—obtaining 
accurate regimen forecasts. 


II. Space Technology Applied to Map Making Technology 



The U.S. GPS (Global Positioning System) satellite group is 
a total of 24 satellites. No matter what point it is on the 
globe, it is, in all cases, possible to make use of these 
satellites to carry out positioning. Accuracies reach a number 
of meters. This has already become a commercial means 
(positioning equipment is on sale), in the skies, the former 
Soviet Union also has a similar system. China's map making 
survey agencies make use of this positioning method to carry out 
positioning of geodetic network measurement points. Precisions 
are ten times higher than in the past. For example, Shen 
(illegible) City's GPS satellite positioning net accuracy reached 
3.2 centimeters. 

As far as foreign launched telemetry satellites are 
concerned, they specialize in precise measur^ents associated 
with satellite orbits. Moreover, they are capable of being used 
to measure prolonged shifts associated with surface survey 
points. A laser satellite telemetry system set up at China's 
Shanghai Observatory is used for high power frequency multiple 
YAG laser pulses and telemetry gate technology. Some 
improvements have been gone through. Accuracies have risen from 
15 centimeters to 2 centimeters, reaching advanced world levels 
and sufficient to enter into the ranks of international 
telemetry. Using international cooperative experiments precisely 
calculating movements of the earth's plates to act as precise 
measurements of plate boundaries, year after year, accumulations 
and regressive calculations have already initially displayed 
movement trends associated with the earth's plates (generally, on 
the order of one centimeter/year). It is possible to see that 
this is a basic scientific research project which is related to 
the survival of mankind and long term changes in the earth. 


III. Influences of the Space Environment and Microgravity 
on Matter 


Making use of specimens carried on returnable satellites to 
carry out space environment experiments possesses the advantages 
associated with research and analysis carried out on samples 
brought back in a timely manner. We have already carried out a 
number of iterations of space microgravity scientific 
experiments. First, is growing semicouductor crystal materials 
in space. As far as growing this type of crystal on the surface 
is concerned, due to influences of gravity, there will be 
produced, during growth processes, constituent layering and 
convection phenomena associated with melted fluids. With regard 
to products with relatively large volumes and crystals with high 
degrees of uniformity, it is difficult to overcome the 
difficulties. However, under microgravity conditions in space— 
producing crystals in melted liquids—it is possible to very. 


S 


r 


very greatly reduce these perturbing factors and arrive at high 
quality crystals. Making use of satellite borne experiments on 
returnable satellites/ we have achieved gratifying results. In 
particular—in terms of arsenic and gallium crystal growth—it 
was not only verified that it was possible to produce high 
quality crystals. Moreover/ going through various types of test 
measurements—even to the point of finally using them to 
manufacture products—everything spoke to their effectiveness. 
This work achieved a high degree of serious attention 
internationally. /15 

Various types of plant seeds were carried into space. After 
a period of time had passed/ the satellite subsequently returned. 

Going through cultivation of the seeds/ a good number of curious 
phenomena were discovered. For example/ a strain of rice 
unexpectedly came out as one stalk with multiple ears. It would 
seem that this is due to genetic phenomena given rise to by 
irradiation from the radioactivity in space. This has then 
provided a new path for genetic breeding. 


IV. Exploration of Physical Parameters Associated with 
Space Environments and the Physics of Space Environments 


Due to unceasing progress in astronavigational technology— 
including problems associated with carrying people—studies of 


6 




Fig.l The Weaver Girl No.3 Sounding Rocket During Launch 


the physical environment of space as well as normal and safe 
operations for spacecraft possess very important significance. 

In particular, the solar wind and electromagnetic radiation, 
possessing high speed particles radiated out due to activities 
associated with the sun, lead to the formation of and changes in 
such things as magnetic layers and ionization layers in space. 
These are capable of influencing the normal operations of 
instruments on satellites as well as the health and safety of 
astronavigational personnel. This area still has a good number 
of problems which await exploration. In regard to China, using 
rockets to carry out this research had begun before artificial 
earth satellites had yet appeared. This type of research work 
has continued right along up to the present. Our space physics 
research personnel—under conditions where experimental research 
is extremely difficult—made unremiting efforts, including making 
use of foreign materials and also doing work with a certain 
significance. 

China's earliest engagement in geomagnetic observations 
began with the establishment (in 1874) of Shanghai's Sheshan 
geomagnetic station. In the 1930's, explorations were then begun 
into research on the ionosphere. Since the activities of the 


7 





International Geophyscial Year, China has constructed—one after 
the other—a good number of surface observation stations. In 
particular, there is the “China Meridian Plane Observation Chain" 
at 120*E. In this are included observatories, ionosphere 
measurment stations, cosmic ray observation stations, 
electromagnetic stations, and so on. Besides these, the 
Zhongshan Station and the Great Wall Station have been set up at 
the two poles. All these have intimate realtionships to the 
physical environment of space. 

Beginning in 1960, China has launched sounding rockets for a 
total of 260 rockets of 18 types. Among these, 6 types are 
specialized-high altitude metrological and space physics 
services. In 1988, a low latitude comprehensive launch base was 
set up on Hainan Island in order to expand the scope of research 
associated with space physics. 



Fig.2 Metrological Microgravity Experimental Capsule (Illegible) 


Beginning in 1977, high altitude scientific surveys were 
carried out, reaching 170 iterations. The globe is a zero 
pressure form. Volumes are 30 thousand square meters to 300 
thousand square meters. Maximum altitudes reach 40 kilometers. 
Loads can reach 600 kilograms. From 1986 to 1988, cooperation 
was made with Japan to carry out transoceanic observations. 
Recently, there has been cooperation with Russia to carry out 
research—through long range flights—on cosmic rays and ■ rays 
coming from the sun as well as nonsolar X-rays, and so on. 
Scientific survey satellites were launched in 1971 and 1981. 
Another satellite will soon be launched again. It is 
particularly worthwhile bringing up the fact that two 
metrological satellites were launched making use of piggy back 
means in 1990. These were used in order to study vertical 



distributions of atmospheric densities pertaining to the range of 
space, obtaining data with great reference significance. In 
conjunction with this, observations were made of such influences 
as those due to atmospheric moisture and leading to changes with 
an undulating character. 

As far as the area of space physics is concerned, China— 
with the assistance of data supplied by foreign cooperation—has 
done a good deal of research work possessing an international 
level in such areas as solar physics, interplanatary physics, 
and—in particular—magnetic layer and ion layer physics 
associated with the physics of space in the sun and the earth. 
Recently, in the area of satellite research (CLUSTER)—taking as 
the objective the exploration of microstructures associated with 
layers in the sun and the earth—cooperation is just being 
carried out with the European Space Agency. 

Making use of space means, China has also carried out—to a 
certain extent—research work in regard to the ozone layer, the 
C02 greenhouse effect, as well as observation of ocean currents 
along China's sea coast, and space astronomy. /16 

Summarizing what was described above, the work in areas of 
space science, which we carry out—to a very great degree—is 
geared toward our economic construction. Part of the 
accomplishments in it have won for China an international 
position in space science. As far as the reforms and opening up 
which are going on at the present time are concerned, in terms of 
the economic system, in the envionment of the transition 
associated with switching from a planned economy to a socialist 
market economy—and due to the strongly fundamental nature of 
this work—it is very difficult to directly reap economic 
benefits from it. Although there are some projects which get 
support from natural science funds as well as fixed funds, the 
inputs are very scarce. In terms of a good number of problems, 
ability does not match ambition. With respect to Chinese 
investment in the field of space science, investments in areas of 
space science technology are far lower than those of other 
advanced nations. As a result, considerablly improving this 
proportion—making space technology possess a higher useful value 
and benefit—is a problem which must command attention in terms 
of political policy. 

(This article taken from «Zhongguo Kexue Bao»)