Three-year goal over homemade satellites

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 November, 2007, 12:00am

In three years, the mainland will be able to design and manufacture communications and broadcast satellites on a par with foreign ones, according to a deputy director of the Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence.

Sun Laiyan, also chief of the China National Space Administration, said it was time for the mainland's satellite industry to decrease its reliance on imports and technology from abroad.

According to Dr Sun, the mainland has 12 communications and broadcast satellites, but only one - SinoSat-3 - was made domestically.

'That does not even include foreign satellites we leased from overseas,' Dr Sun was quoted by the Beijing Youth Daily as saying.

Moreover, foreign supplies had the bulk of the ground station market, and the core technology of the ground stations still depended heavily on foreign technology.

He said the mainland would step up satellite research and development during the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10) and more domestically built satellites would be launched.

'[We will] ensure the domestically made communications and broadcast satellites can basically take the place of foreign satellites,' he said.

The commission unveiled a set of guidelines and goals on Sunday to promote the domestic satellite industry, including changing the main focus of satellites from scientific experiments to commercial use by 2020.

By then, 80 per cent of the ground equipment should be made on the mainland.

The outline said government at all levels should pay special attention to the issues of intellectual property in developing satellites, and related technology and systems.

Scientific and technological innovations were priority areas under the 11th Five-Year Plan, with President Hu Jintao pledging extra resources to promote homegrown technology.