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A white paper published by China’s State Council Information Office today both summarized the state that nation’s present space program as well as outlining its goals for the next five years.
In addition to outlining their future manned and unmanned missions (such asa landing a probe on the far side of the Moon, as well as sending a lunar sample return mission there), the overall plan includes developing their entire space infrastructure, from communication satellites to ground-based radar to space telescopes to missions to Mars. It is well thought out, and quite comprehensive. Possibly the most important part however is the white paper’s discussion of how they intend to enhance future industrial development.
The mechanism for market access and withdrawal has been improved. A list of investment projects in the space industry has been introduced for better management in this regard. Non-governmental capital and other social sectors are encouraged to participate in space-related activities, including scientific research and production, space infrastructure, space information products and services, and use of satellites to increase the level of commercialization of the space industry.
The government has increased its cooperation with private investors, and the mechanism for government procurement of astronautic products and services has been improved.
The Chinese government, communist now in name only, intends to fuel their space program with private investment and private enterprise. The overall program will be managed and run by the central government, but that government is going to make it a policy to encourage the private sector to compete and innovate in this effort.