China Space Agency Plans To Regulate Commercial Rocket Industry

Rocket Models
A security officer stands next to rocket models at an exhibition to mark China's Space Day 2019 on April 24, in Changsha (Photo: REUTERS/Aly Song)

On Tuesday, China's national space agency announced that it will soon adopt new rules in order to regulate the manufacture, test flights, and launches of commercial rockets. This decision stem from the sudden surge of private startups in this budding industry over the past few years.

A report from China Space News touted that the new space law is already included in the legislative plan of the parliament. The said law is expected to be implemented within the next three to five years.

The number of private firms dealing in the commercialization of China's space industry has seen a massive surge over the span of the last three decades. As of this writing, almost 100 firms are engaged in the space industry which includes manufacturers of satellites and rockets.

During an industry conference held in the Hunan province, China National Space Administration deputy director said that commercial space companies should company with the country's regulations regarding safety and confidentiality in order to protect national security.

In China, a number of space startups are on a race to develop and manufacture low-cost micro-satellites that have commercial applications. While none of these firms have succeeded in doing so, the innovation and development among these firms have caught the attention of venture capitalists and investors who have poured the massive amount of financing in the last few months.

China continues to encourage private investors to participate in the commercialization of the space industry. In order to help this nascent industry, the government has set up funds and opened up a number of government launch sites which private startups can use during their development process.

China has set near-term tasks which will allow it to develop major satellite systems with a number of capabilities including remote sensing, communications, and navigation.

Following China's successful landing of the Chang'e 4 on the far side of the moon in January, the China National Space Administration announced that it is working on follow-up missions in order to further develop and improve the country's space capacity. Before the end of the year, China is planning to launch Chang'e 5 with an intention to bring lunar samples back to Earth. This will be followed by the launch of Chang'e 4 in 2024 which aims to bring samples from the moon's south pole. Chang'e 7 is expected to launch in 2030 and its main task is to survey the south pole's composition. Lastly, Chang'e 3 will launch in 2035 and aims to test technologies like 3D printing in order to lay the groundwork for the construction of a lunar research station.

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