China will construct and launch two remote sensing satellites one each for Venezuela and Pakistan in the coming two years, an industry insider said.
China Great Wall Industry Corp, the nation’s only authorized firm for international space collaboration, will launch Venezuela’s second remote sensing satellite next year and Pakistan’s first remote sensing satellite in 2018, said Fu Zhiheng, vice-president of Great Wall Industry, China Daily reported Saturday.
“Preparation work for the Venezuelan Remote Sensing Satellite 2 project is proceeding according to schedule. The contract for the Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite 1 project was signed earlier this year and will be fulfilled in 2018.
The two satellites are being developed by the China Academy of Space Technology,” Fu said on the sidelines of an international forum in Beijing on Friday.
A total of 180 space officials, diplomats and researchers took part in the Symposium on Space International Cooperation Promoting Economic and Social Development of Developing Country, which was organized by the China International Exchange Center for Astronautical Science and Technology and the International Academy of Astronautics.
Remote sensing satellites are tasked with forecasting weather, observing Earth, surveying land resources or monitoring oceans.
Fu said some other countries that already use Chinese satellites are also in talks with his company on the procurement of new satellites.
“In addition to traditional clients, we pay great attention to finding new customers. For instance, we are striving to tap the space market in the Middle East that is dominated by the United States and European firms,” he said. “What I can tell you now is that we have made substantial progress in this region.”
China has exported 11 satellites to nine countries, including Bolivia, Nigeria and Laos, statistics from Great Wall Industry show.
Fu said that Chinese satellites have become popular among developing countries for two reasons: First, they are as reliable as Western models; and second, Great Wall Industry is able to provide solution packages to developing countries covering design, launch, operation and training.
The Venezuelan Remote Sensing Satellite 2 is the third Chinese satellite designed for the South American country, following the Venesat-1 communications satellite that was launched in 2008 and the Venezuelan Remote Sensing Satellite 1, launched in 2012.
The Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite 1 is the second Chinese satellite to be used by Pakistan. Before that, China developed the PakSat-1R communications satellite that was launched in 2011.
Hu Zhongmin, director of the international cooperation department at China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, parent company of Great Wall Industry and China Academy of Space Technology, said the space giant is willing to strengthen exchanges and collaboration with developing countries so space data and technologies can benefit such countries.
“Under bilateral cooperation frameworks, we are also happy to help them to build their own space capability,” he said.
Hiroki Matsuo, vice-president of the International Academy of Astronautics, said China could share its knowledge and expertise in manned and robotic spaceflight, space-based navigation and data applications with other countries.