"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

China challenges GPS , Galileo ...... and Space Wars and Space Dust

Another Beidou (Big Dipper) satellite launched on top of a 3 stage Chinese Long March 3A rocket this weekend, from the Xichang cosmodrome, and joined 3 other satellites launched since 2000 at an altitude of 23,300 miles, to build up the Chinese Compass Navigation Satellite System (CNSS) navigational positioning system. This will increase competition both militarily and commercially with the US Global Positioning System (GPS ) and the delayed EU Galileo satellite system - in which China (and Israel) are paid up partners.

It also rattled the cages of the US military after the recent demonstration of the remote destruction of a redundant weather satellite by a guided missile.

The Compass System offering it is said, 10 metre accuracy currently , is in use on Chinese deep sea fishing fleets and is said to operate on frequencies close to GPS to reduce the chances of blocking the signals.

It will be interesting to see what strategy Qualcomm adopts for the development of their The third-generation (3G) wireless standard (Wideband CDMA/ Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service)WCDMA /UMTS chipsets which support new 3G higher speed data rates .Their world leading QUALCOMM’s gpsOne® position-location technology provides (by using GPS) highly accurate, widely available position-location technology on mobile platforms. Presumably Asian markets will be looking for sideways compatibility.

So far they have said nothing.

China have a busy year ahead in space and have plans for ;

1. Chang'e 1 lunar orbiter in April will use another 3 stage Long March 3A rocket to orbit the Moon at an altitude of approximately 125 miles (200 Km.) to create a detailed lunar map analyze the Moon's soil content.

It is said future missions could feature landing craft and a probe to return rock samples to Earth.

2. Probably in March, they will launch CBERS 2B which will be the 3rd satellite in a joint Earth observation fleet operated by China and Brazil.

3. In April the 2nd Chinese marine survey satellite, Haiyang 1B should launch closely followed by the Sinosat 3 communications satellite in May

4. To meet the needs of the 2008 Beijing Olympics media coverage 2 for TV and wireless relay are scheduled for later this year and polar orbiting meteorological satellite is also planned for launch in late 2007

Work is apparently on schedule for launch in 2008, of Shenzhou 7 to carry China's first 3 man crew into orbit for a flight lasting several days which will involve a space walk.. it is not unlikely that this space spectaular is planned to co-ordinate with the Olympics. The US astronaut Sunita Williams has just set a new record space walk time of 22 hours 27 mins beating
the record set by another American, Kathryn Thornton of 21 hours 3 minutes...WOW!!

Meanwhile the spectacular and intentional destruction on Jan. 11 of China’s Fengyun-1C weather satellite (in space since May 9th 1999) by a Chinese anti-satellite (ASAT) device has created a mass of debris in space. The satellite’s destruction is said to be the most prolific and severe fragmentation in the course of five decades of space operations.

According to NASA’s Nicholas Johnson, Chief Scientist for Orbital Debris at the space agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas the U.S. military Space Surveillance Network has cataloged nearly 600 debris fragments as a result of this event. It is expected that the total will eventually bee in excess of 900 fragments over 4" (10cm) in diameter.

At present debris cloud extends from less than 125 miles (200 kilometers) to more than 2,292 miles (3,850 kilometers), that is covering all low orbit paths - including the International Space Station (ISS).. The mean altitides are 528 miles (850 kilometers) which means that they will not decay quickly.

NASA assume that there will be a further 35,000 bits of what they call "riff-raff" up to 1 cm diameter.

An international body, Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC) is an international governmental forum for the global coordination of activities related to the issues of human-made and natural debris in space and their 25th meeting is on April 23-26 hosted by the China National Space Administration to be held at the China Academy of Space Technology in Beijing. No doubt the roadkill from their cosmic spectatuclar will feature high on the agenda.

Before then The Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space will also have a leisurely meeting in Vienna on the 12th - 23rd February 2007 and have on their agenda (Item 7) the need to approve draft Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines that were formulated last year especially in connection with the impact of debris on space craft those with nuclear power sources on board. (Item 8 is "Use of nuclear power sources in outer space.")

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