China Invites Investors, Including Foreigners, Into Space Effort

  • Commercial rockets, satellite research, manufacturing included
  • Plan to put person on the moon still under review, China says

China is looking to draw private investors, including those from outside the country, into its aerospace program to supplement funding from the government for commercial satellite launches.

Investment is welcome for commercial rocket development, satellite research, manufacturing and for applying aerospace technologies to public welfare, Wu Yanhua, vice minister of China National Space Administration, said at a press briefing in Beijing on Tuesday. Wu said China intends to be among the world’s top three aerospace powers by 2030.

“After six decades of development, government investment alone is not enough to let China’s aerospace program to advance technological progress and benefit the economy and society,” Wu said. There are now fewer restrictions for non-state investors, including foreign capital, to invest in China’s aerospace research, manufacturing and services, Wu said.

China is seeking to commercialize its satellite communications and broadcasting systems, according to an aerospace white paper the State Council Information Office released Tuesday. China’s satellite navigation system, Beidou-2, is expected to enter service in 2018, serving the “Belt and Road” region under Chinese President Xi Jinping’s plan for better infrastructure connectivity across Eurasia.

The white paper didn’t include any targets or time frames for private investment.

The government is still reviewing the feasibility of sending a manned mission to the moon, Wu said. China’s space program has said it plans to send the Chang’e 4 probe to the moon in 2018, in what would be the first soft-landing on the far side of the moon. The plan for sending a probe to Mars in 2020 would also be a first for China, according to the aerospace white paper.

— With assistance by Dong Lyu

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