China issues first assessment on space activities

Updated: 2014-04-17 21:11


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BEIJING - A leading space research group in China released the country's first assessment of the current situation and future trends of international space activities on Thursday.

The report was compiled by the research group of the Qian Xuesen Laboratory of Launch Vehicle Technology.

The report showed that space activities have flourished in recent years. Big space powers led in terms of satellite launch attempts and in-orbit assets.

Modern facilities and equipment used in space activities are mostly owned by leading space powers.

So far, 12 countries have gained the ability to launch satellites independently, said the report.

Of the 159 launches that took place between 2012 and 2013, 86.8 percent were conducted by 4 leading powers, including Russia, the United States, China and the European Union.

There were an estimated 1,084 satellites in orbit by August 2013, according to a calculation by the research group based on figures from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

A total of 461 satellites are independently owned by the United States. Russia had 111 and the European Union possessed 110.

The three powers had 63 percent of global space assets, said the report.

Li Hongbo, a member of the research group and an expert with the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT), warned of a trend toward using space for military purposes that has emerged in recent years.

"Current international laws and regulations have been ineffective to contain it," said Li.

The research group called for peaceful exploration and utilization of outer space.

The research group worked under CALT, which is part of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.