China’s increasing participation in space continued in 2008 with the record high of ## orbital launches, exceeding its previous peak of ## orbital launches in 2007. These launches used China’s only operational vehicle family, the Long March (“Chang Zheng”, or CZ) series.
From the launch of the Sputnik satellite on October 4, 1957, through the end of 2008, approximately ## orbital launches have occurred. These missions carried some ten thousand satellites, experiments, probes, landers, and other spacecraft on trajectories ranging from Earth orbit to missions beyond our solar system.
In 2003, China became the third nation to achieve orbital human spaceflight. The Long March 2F vehicle and its Shenzhou capsule are similar in design and function to the Soyuz rocket and capsule configuration. In October 2008, China launched Shenzhou 7, whose three-person crew performed the first Chinese extra vehicular activity, or spacewalk. In 2006, the Chinese government updated its China’s Space Activities white paper, which lists potential activities of follow-on Shenzhou missions. These include testing docking procedures, with the eventual objective of creating a space station.
FSS includes the provision of satellite capacity for a range of applications from video distribution to relaying telephone signals, and integrated voice/data services on private networks which often use very small aperture terminals (VSAT networks). Estimated 2008 revenue for FSS is $## billion. This value is based on actual data reported as of January 2009, and past years’ data from SIA.
The economic impacts and human capital effects of global space activity are mutually reinforcing. Worldwide space activity is a driver of industry and commerce, both in economic sectors with a primary space linkage and in secondary and tertiary supporting industries. As space-related economic activity stimulates economic growth, it employs individuals, shapes educational needs, and informs public policy priorities.
The National Science Foundation tracks “first university degrees,” equivalent to a four-year undergraduate degree in the United States, for six countries: the ##, ##, ##, ##, ##, and the ##. In 2004, the most recent year for which data is available for all six countries, the ## was the leading country in issuing first university degrees in all fields, topping ## million, with ## in second place at ## million.
Spaceports operate around the world, offering different capabilities and scales of operation. Some spaceports consist of little more than a basic control center, transportation infrastructure, and launch platform. Others are more elaborate, with facilities for payload processing and integration as well as state-of-the-art mission operation centers.
China’s dramatic space progress in the past decade is linked to growing space expenditures through the civilian China National Space Agency (CNSA). Although China does not publish its civil space budget, in 2005 Luo Ge, the vice administrator of the CNSA, stated that the Chinese space budget was US$## million. Many analysts contend that annual Chinese civil space spending is considerably higher, at least one-tenth that of the United States, or around US$## billion.[
The National Congress of Brazil’s 2009 Federal Budget allocated ## million reais (US$## million) to the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB), a slight increase over the previous year. The AEB is complemented by three smaller space research institutes; the National Institute for Space Research, the Aeronautics and Space Institute, and the Institute for Advanced Studies.
Commercial space programs, like their government counterparts, continue to evolve around the world. As detailed in Space Products and Services, the more established programs in satellite communications and remote sensing are being joined by entrepreneurial space activities that provide excitement an… This article is for subscribers. Please sign up for a subscription or login below.…