Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States
Appendix III: Unclassified Working Papers
Gil Siegert: "The Chinese Space Program"
On 17 March 1996 the Fourth Plenary Session of the Eighth National People's
Congress adopted the Outline of the Ninth Five Year Plan for National
Economic and Social Development, and Long Term Targets for the Year 2010. 1
Space is considered within these endeavors. In formulating these targets,
three specific challenges were seen as critical for consideration. First is
that of increasing domestic demand for space related services,
telecommunications specifically, but also including remote sensing for land
management and disaster warning and mitigation, and an autonomous satellite
navigation system. Second, competition from the already established space
powers, the US and Russia in particular, is seen as a challenge. The third
challenge foreseen by the Chinese is that in trying to reach the first
goal, domestic markets can become controlled or occupied by foreign space
companies. On the last point, the Chinese cite the figure that 80 percent
of the Chinese domestic transponder market is occupied by foreign
satellites and that currently, services and operations in the fields of
meteorology, navigation and remote sensing are all essentially dependent on
Coupled with the economic considerations associated with enhancing Chinese
space infrastructure are the growing national security concerns China
perceives resulting from a growing appreciation for the implications of the
U.S. "revolution in military affairs (RMA)". It would seem that the
People's Liberation Army (PLA) and defense R&D community have begun the
process of recognition and debate beyond its immediate shock at the display
of high-tech warfare against Iraq in 1991. On October 26, 1995, the China
Defense Science Technology Information Center (CDSTIC), the information
clearing-house and think-tank connected to the ministry-level commission in
charge of China's defense industries (Commission for Science, Technology
and Industry for National Defense(COSTIND)) held a seminar on the topic of
"military technical revolution." Bringing together persons from the Academy
of Military Sciences, the National Defense University, the armed forces,
and defense-related industries, the seminar addressed "the intention,
characteristics and development" of the military technical revolution, and
the "need to renew concepts and bring about overall development in PLA
military theory research." 2
China has eight hundred and sixty four National Science and Technology
institutes. Although a 1995 Chinese government report called for turning
most research laboratories into business centers dedicated to spurring
economic growth 3 the problem with doing that goes back to maintaining a
proper balance between the need to disband organizations and the political
need to maintain employment levels. The sheer number of organizations
involved with the multiple structural modifications creates its own degree
of confusion in defining the current Chinese space industry infrastructure.
There are also countless organizations within organizations. Further,
references are still made to organizations by their former names which
exacerbates confusion and results in differing references being made to the
same or officially non-existent organizations.
For example, in a 1996 western publication it was stated that "The Shanghai
Bureau of Astronautics, a research and production base under the Ministry
of Aerospace Industry (MASI)...." 4 yet MASI officially disappeared from
the organization charts after the 1993 reorganization, and the Shanghai
Bureau of Astronautics has been renamed the Shanghai Academy of Space
Technology. 5 From an organizational security perspective, the Chinese are
likely delighted by this continued confusion. While this potential cunning
bit of Chinese infowar likely gives the Chinese more credit for deliberate
strategizing than is warranted, the effect is to increase the difficulty
for non-Chinese to fathom the nature of the Chinese space infrastructure.
Also like the former Soviets, the Chinese utilize a parallel government
system whereby at each level (central, province, etc.) there are both
government mechanisms and party mechanisms, with the party holding ultimate
power. Unlike the Soviets, however, the Chinese also made the military a
third partner. That means that the People's Liberation Army (PLA), which
includes all the services, can be used not only for international security
purposes but domestic policy goals as well and is in many respects beyond
the government's jurisdiction. The PLA holds a bureaucratic rank equal to
that of the State Council that is the government's highest level of
Within these three vertical organizational pillars of China's government,
there are also multiple connecting horizontal bars. For example, while the
party is still the holder of ultimate power, another aspect of bureaucratic
organization that must be considered is the xitong. Xitong literally means
"system." They are functional groupings of bureaucracies that together deal
with a broad task the top political leaders want performed. They are
usually headed by a member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo, the
most powerful party sanctum. In other words, the various xitong are the
party arm of bureaucratic organizations, adding yet another circle to the
dizzying web of interrelationships within which decision-making takes place
in China. Xitong cover a wide variety of areas, though six have been
identified as particularly relevant to the management of the country: Party
Affairs, Organization and Personnel, Propaganda and Education, Political
and Legal Affairs, Finance and Economics, and the Military. Once decisions
are made at this level, they can then be safely passed to the government
One might argue that the Chinese system is organizationally confusing but
in practice operates much like in the West. Certainly, stovepiped
organizations, the interagency process and separation of powers (and
confusion) can be found in the West and could be analogized to various
Chinese counterparts. Also, governmental agreements with subsequent
awarding of private contracts and subcontracts are common. But the analogy
does not hold in a number of senses: as referenced earlier as critical, the
legalities restraining institutions in the West are missing; the open
scrutiny of decision-making is missing; dissemination of knowledge amongst
parties is severely limited; and the behind-the-scenes "Big Brother"
presence of the party overshadows everything.
CHINESE SPACE AND SPACE-RELATED ORGANIZATIONS
The principal organizations governing space development and operations
The State Council. Established in 1954 to replace the transitional
Government Administrative Council, the State Council is headed by the
premier and has 14 members. It includes commissions and ministries within
its purview, with commissions responsible for issues which can involve
multiple ministries. The State Planning Commission, for example, is in
charge of long-term and annual plans, and the State Economic Commission is
responsible for resolving interministerial issues resulting from plan
implementation. Much of the work of the ministries is focused on
development and the urban economy, while in the rural regions the party is
still dominant. The commission directly relevant to space is the Commission
of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (COSTIND).
Space Leading Group (SLG) in the State Council. Founded in April 1989, this
group was described in Yanping Chen's 1993 article 6 as the top group
responsible for policy making and mission coordination among the central
government agencies. Its purpose was stated as coordinating coherent space
activities in China, similar to an organization called the Central Special
Committee that existed in the 1960's and 1970 s led by Zhou Enlai. That
Committee was, like many others, disbanded during the Cultural Revolution.
The members of the SLG, as of 1993, were stated as being "the Prime
Minister of the State Council, the Chairman of COSTIND, the Vice-Chairman
of the State Committee of Science and Technology, the Minister of Aerospace
industry, the Vice-Minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the
Vice Chairman of the State Committee of Central Planning.'' 7 The role of
the SLG today is unclear. Some sources summarily dismiss it as now defunct.
The Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense
(COSTIND). The National Defense Science and Technology Commission (NDSTIC),
the original oversight organization for both missile and nuclear weapons
development chaired by Nie Rongzhen, and the National Defense Industry
Office were merged in 1982 to form COSTIND. It is directly tied to the
State Council and is responsible for both aerospace and strategic weapons,
on the civil side controlling the launch sites and tracking, telemetry and
control (TT&C). It is also the coordinating organization for space, and as
such divides both projects and resources among interested parties, e.g. the
Ministry of Radio, Film and Television (MRFT) and the Ministry of Post and
Telecommunications. Hierarchically, the China Aerospace Corporation (CASC
or CAC) and the China National Space Administration (CNSA) are under
COSTIND. Project consideration begins in COSTIND for CASC. Although COSTIND
theoretically has no direct authority over CASC, its influence and control
is significant, through several mechanisms.
First, COSTIND is CASC's link to the State Council, which is the ultimate
authority for funding. Second, and more importantly on a day-to-day basis,
COSTIND's power is via control of personnel. COSTIND appoints the Chief and
Deputy Chief Designers for key projects within CASC's purview.
Recently, COSTIND leadership transitioned from Ding Henggao to Cao
Gangchuan. In a somewhat surprising move, Cao was appointed from outside.
The Deputy Director was and remains Lt. Gen. Shen Rongjtin. He is the
senior military officer in charge of China's space efforts. In an
interesting example of the Confucian-based family tie system that is
prevalent in China, Ding is married to Nie Li, daughter of COSTIND founder
Nie Rongzhen. Apparently concern that family influence was becoming too
strong even by Chinese standards, and a bad property deal, led to Ding's
State Science and Technology Commission. This group, headed by Song Jian,
is responsible for developing macro-level policy concerning space,
primarily involving research and academics.
Chinese Aerospace Corporation (CASC or CAC) & Chinese National Space
Administration (CNSA). In 1956, the Party's Central Military Commission
created the Fifth Academy within the Defense Ministry to be in charge of
missile research and development. Within that organizational scheme, a
number of sub-academies were also created. For example, the First
Sub-Academy was in charge of general configuration and rocket engines and
the Second Sub-Academy was in charge of guidance systems. Many of these
Sub-Academies were subsequently renamed. The First Sub-Academy became the
First Academy in January 1965, generally responsible for Carrier Rocket
Research. In 1965, the Fifth Ministry became the Seventh Ministry of
Machine Building. Then, in 1982, the Seventh Ministry was redesignated as
the Ministry of Space Industry (MASI). There were multiple academies within
the MASI purview, many of which sold their products overseas after the
Chinese push for capital in the 1980's. There was, for example: the First
Academy, the pedigree of which was previously mentioned; Second Academy
(producing anti-aircraft missiles for sale abroad); the Third Academy
(producing anti-ship missiles for sale abroad); and the Fourth Academy, in
charge of solid rocket motors. Companies were then specifically set up as
outlets for these sales. China Precision Import-Export Company (CPMlEC) was
an export company set up for missile and arms trade. Those academies which
were successful in export sales were rewarded twofold: by showing their
relevance to the national economy they were rewarded with government
funding and they were also able to supplement their government funding with
part of their "earnings." Indeed the DF- 15 was developed for hard currency
by the First Academy, and it likely could bring in $200,000 8 on the arms
Until 1984/85 all of these were classified organizations along the lines of
the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) in the United States and very much
military dominated. Even by Western standards, MASI was a large fully
state-owned entity. It employed about 55,000 technical personnel and a
support workforce of about 250,000, and operated approximately 100
factories and 80 research and design institutes. 9 Today CASC and CNSA have
assumed the responsibilities (personnel, buildings, etc.) of MASI.
The principal role of CNSA is to serve as China's policy organization and
interface with other national space agencies, while CASC exerts primary
control over the national space program on a day-to-day basis. Basically,
CNSA handles external matters while CASC handles internal matters. There is
considerable sharing of personnel between CASC and CNSA. For example Mr.
Hua Chongzhi and Mr. Lao Ge are both Deputy Directors for the Department of
Foreign Affairs of both organizations.
Today, CASC is a corporation with 270,000 employees, including over 100,000
engineers. CASC primarily engages in research, design, test, manufacture
and commercialization of various space technological products and civilian
applications. Further, as a national level company, launch vehicles,
satellites and other space products in China are within its exclusive
domain. CASC has achieved success in the fields of launch vehicle
technology, cryogenic propellant rocket technology, satellite retrieval and
multi-payload launches, and possesses the capability of launching
satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO), sun-synchronous orbit (SSO) and
geostationary Earth orbit (GEO).
China and CASC are particularly proud that space spin-offs have been widely
applied to multiple sectors of the Chinese national economic development
effort. Beyond satellite applications and ground equipment, its main
civilian products include electronics, automobiles, communications,
computers, automatic control systems, petrochemical equipment, medical
apparatus, packaging machinery, and consumer electronics.
To date CASC has established technical cooperation and trade relations with
more than 50 countries, regions and international organizations. Almost 100
joint-venture enterprises are set up in China and abroad.
There are multiple institutes under CASC (see diagram 1.1 ) and much like
the former "bureaus" in Russia, some have been able to respond to
commercialization efforts more than others.
China Academy of Space Technology (CAST). Formerly known as the Fifth
Academy, CAST is responsible for the design and manufacture of DFH
communications satellites, FSW recoverable satellites and Earth
resources/remote sensing satellites. Under its purview, the 504 institute
in Xi'an is responsible for commercial payloads.
China Satellite Launch and Tracking Control General (CLTC). This
organization was specifically established to provide commercial launch and
tracking, telemetry and control (TT&C) services. Like other Chinese space
organizations, it is subordinate to COSTIND, but not through CASC as are
most others. CLTC manages one aerospace command and control center (Xi'an,
XSCC), three satellite launch centers (Jiuquan, Xichang, Taiyuan), one
comprehensive TT&C network (Xi'an) and two research institutes. In all, the
organization claims a workforce of more than 20,000, of whom some 5,000 are
engineers. Pictures of personnel at the controls during launches frequently
show men in uniform. 10 According to a former TT&C personnel manager in
China, the military still operates the launch sites. Spacecraft built by
civilian organizations in China or abroad are handed over to the military
security organization at the launch site. As such, they are ultimately
owned by COSTIND, which then takes approximately 1/3 of the profits from
commercial launches to cover fuel, infrastructure and personnel costs.
Combining the fact that the launch sites are under the purview of the
military and the military is a key jobs program within China, and that
aerospace generally is among the fields from which the government is
reluctant to disband employees, few personnel cutbacks are likely and
inefficiencies are said to abound. Indeed one Chinese launch expert
speculated that as many as one-fifth of the launch personnel could easily
be eliminated, but without much optimism for improvement in the near
Located in the ancient city of Xi'an, XSCC manages China's spacecraft TT&C
network. This includes the command and control center, fixed and mobile
stations, instrumentation ships and re-entry instrumentation airplanes.
XSCC has served its role since the launch of China's first satellite in
Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center (JSLC) is located in northwestern China in
the Gobi desert. It is the earliest and largest satellite launch center in
China, created in 1958 for military launch activities. It is primarily used
to launch to medium and low orbit inclinations, including recoverable
In the 1960s and 1970s Mao decided to spread out the launch facilities for
strategic reasons, primarily in response to the Russian threat. Sites were
specifically selected for their remoteness in accordance with his Third
Line (San Xian) strategy, and built for military purposes. Other
considerations for sites came into play also. That the latitude coordinates
of Xichang are similar to those of Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is thought
likely not coincidental. As mentioned earlier, after the Sino-Soviet split,
the Chinese still had considerable Soviet space hardware to work from and
the biggest actual loss was in utilization knowledge. For that they had to
rely on published data, which came primarily from the United States.
Launching from the same latitude as KSC allowed the Chinese to emulate the
expectations for such technical points as the proper rocket attitude and
When China decided to enter the commercial launch field in the 1980s, they
sought technology from the West for improving capabilities. Because of the
obvious dual-use, technology transfer considerations, however, such support
was not forthcoming. The Chinese have subsequently concentrated on
upgrading their facilities indigenously, and spent considerable funds,
sometimes without badly desired and needed near-term payback. Indeed
facilities for launching LM-2E rockets from Jiuquan were assembled for a
potential Globalstar contract, which then went elsewhere. 11 Taiynan
Satellite Launch Center has been used for polar orbits since 1988.
Xichang Satellite Launch Center (XSLC) is located in Sichuan province, in
southwestern China. It is located at latitude 28 degrees N and an altitude
of 1500 m. XSLC is comprised of two launchpads, one dedicated to the LM-3,
and the other is used for the LM-2E, LM-3A, LM-3B, and the new LM-3C, and
mainly used to launch geostationary spacecraft. All domestic communications
satellites and commercial satellites are launched from there. The second
pad, for the LM-2E, was built in 14 months to better position China to
respond to the commercial market. China Academy of Launch Vehicle
Technology (CALT). The former First Academy, which was also known at one
time as the Beijing Wanyuan Industry Corporation, was founded at the outset
of the Chinese missile technology program in 1957. CALT and the Shanghai
Academy of Spaceflight Technology are primarily responsible for launch
vehicle construction. CALT managed the development of the LM-2C and
hyperbolic and cryogenic engines.
Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST). Founded in 1969 and
formerly known as Shanghai Bureau of Astronautics, SAST is now responsible
for the first and second stage structures on the LM-3 launch vehicle and is
responsible for the LM-2D and LM-4 boosters. SAST is also known to have
developed the Feng Yun-2, a geostationary meteorological satellite, 12 as
well as a medium-range surface-to-air missile for the export market,
capable of tracking multiple targets, 13 evidencing its proficiency in both
civil and military technologies.
Even during this period of privatization, these bureaus and academies are
still dependent on government funds because of the dual-use nature of their
work. There has, however, been limited competition initiated between the
formerly exclusively specialized institutions. For example, the Sinosat
telecommunications satellite being built as a joint-venture between China
and the German aerospace firm DASA was opened to competition within China
by CASC. CAST was institutionally stronger in the field, with far more
experience. SAST also bid planning to initiate an entirely new design,
whereas CAST intended to use/modify the standard DFH-3 platform. A senior
experts group was convened, and selected SAST. Two years later, however,
Mr. Liu at CASC intervened and gave the contract back to CAST, apparently
for varied political reasons.
China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC). Originally set up by MASI as
a kind of legitimate "front" for the defense-related industries wanting to
get involved in foreign sales, the CGWIC is now the exclusive organization
in China responsible for launch service marketing, commercial negotiation,
contract execution and performance with a legal person status.
Organizationally, CGWIC has "partnerships" with many if not most of the
other Chinese space entities, to provide one-stop shopping for
international customers. The uniqueness of this arrangement is important.
"CGWIC has two attributes that are different from other international space
trading companies in the West. First, it is the only export window for
Chinese space products in the international market. Second, it is the only
legal entity pricing Chinese space products. The prices of space products
reflect the negotiated costs from its Chinese partners and the profits of
Second Artillery. The Second Artillery of the PLA is the Strategic Rocket
Force. The intertwined nature of this organization with the others is
significant. The First Academy, for example, builds the carrier rockets
utilized by the Second Artillery and hence is technologically tied to all
other aspects of the Chinese space program. Historically, the Second
Artillery has been strictly a tool of the higher ups, rather than an
initiator of policy or strategy. Lewis and Hua say, for example: "The
soldiers of the Second Artillery and their comrades in the First Academy
merely imagined that nuclear strategy was a matter to be debated and
decided upon by the leaders in the Central Military Commission." 15
Politically the Second Artillery is, however, likely the strongest within
the PLA, receiving far more modernization funds than some counterparts.
Ministry of Posts and Telecommunication (MPT). The MPT is a functional
department under the State Council governing the P&T industry. It is
responsible for the macro-control of China's communications industry,
making overall plans, coordinating projects, and supervising operations. 16
There have been a multitude of so-called "private companies" created, which
are actually under the purview of MPT, as providers of telephone services.
China Telecom is by far the largest. Within approximately the past five
years, however, other companies, such as China United Communications (China
Unicom) have also emerged, as competition under the same master.
Chinese Academy of Science. This organization is most often referenced in
conjunction with space science work being conducted by universities. Likely
it plays primarily a coordinating role.
China Satellite Launch Agents of Hong Kong, Ltd. This group was established
to promote the commercial use of Chinese recoverable spacecraft.
Chinese Society of Astronautics. A technical organization that also is said
to assist in overseeing space development. 17 Its role in this area,
however, is quite nebulous.
People's Insurance Company of China (PICC). PICC is a state-owned company
that, inter alia, offers insurance to customers of the various Chinese
CURRENT SPACE PROGRAM
With the successful launch of AsiaSat-1 in 1990 on a Long March-3 rocket,
China joined a short list of countries and organizations involved in the
commercial launch business. The insurance associated with the launch is an
important element of China's commercial launch, particularly since in
1997/98 it is among the most important factors concerning China's future in
the commercial launch field. China has experienced seven launch failures of
varying degrees from December 1992 through August 1996 18 , ranging from a
launcher exploding before ever reaching the pad, to satellites in low
orbits, to catastrophic explosions killing people on Earth. These
difficulties have resulted in a general loss of confidence in the Chinese
Long March launcher family among the commercial satellite vendors and a
subsequent increase in insurance rates.
Launch failures are always undesirable, but for the Chinese, theirs came at
particularly unfortunate times as within the next two years launch
contracts will likely be signed for the majority of new global mobile phone
networks being developed which rely on low-orbit satellites: e.g. Iridium
and Globalstar, backed by Motorola and Space Systems/Loral. The Chinese
fear, which is justified, is that they could miss out on the launch
contracts for these ventures to a substantial degree because of the lack of
confidence and concomitant insurance issues now associated with the Long
March boosters. "'There is a crunch over the next 12 to 18 months,' said
Chris Lanzit, satellite business-development director for U.S.-based Hughes
Electronics, which built ChinaSat.
`There is tremendous growth in the number of satellites being launched and
not enough vehicles. By 1998 a whole lot of new vehicles will be available.
Insurance is particularly critical to China's remaining economically
competitive in the international launch market. Without the income derived
from the launch market, many of their other space programs financed through
launch would have to be seriously curtailed or draw funds from other
important sectors. Some analysts have said that "...the Chinese programme
is rapidly becoming uninsurable..." 20 because of its outdated technology,
particularly data-handling facilities. Others are not so pessimistic. Rates
for insuring a launch on LM did drop from 27% of the amount insured to
about 19%, which is still above the cost of less than 17% on Europe's
Ariane 4 booster but still considered in the `tolerable' range." 21 After
two later accidents though (Intelsat 708 and ChinaSat-7) rates for the
LM-3B went up again to between 20-30%. All, however, seem to agree that if
the launch difficulties which have recently plagued the Chinese continue
and the insurers pull the plug then China will miss out on planned-for
revenue. The Chinese are keenly aware of this dilemma and have made
restoring confidence in the Long March their number one space priority,
even above development of new launchers. Both a vehicle for delivering
small satellite payloads and a vehicle which could be used for planetary
exploration or manned spaceflight have been cited as desirable and within
Chinese consideration by the new President of the China Great Wall Company,
Zhang Xinxia. 22 In both cases development would heavily depend on funds
derived from the commercial program, so the plans almost inherently become
moot without a viable, meaning perceived reliable by the launch market,
commercial launcher. Comparatively speaking, the success rates of
Arianespace and Lockheed Martin are usually cited at approximately 95% and
the Proton 93%. China, however, has plummeted to about 80%. 23 With the
August 18, 1996 launch failure, China's failure rate was 30%, 3 times
higher than what industry experts consider "reasonable."
Such statistics are somewhat questionable since there is considerable
design carry-over between military and commercial systems. For example, a
reorientation problem with LM-2E was traced to a component that had worked
successfully in the M11, 24 but did not work in the LM-2E and had to be
reworked. Subsequently, failures of military systems that are not reported
in the West may have an impact on the commercial program.
Concerns about the launch failures are particularly high because three of
the last five failures have involved Western satellites, which have left
some in the business wondering if there is an integration problem. 25
Publicly, both sides say that integration is not an issue, but both sides
also claim a reluctance of their counterparts to share the necessary
information to make a complete and valid analysis. Based on the known
compartmentalization problems that seem inherent to the Chinese system,
integration problems are not a particularly far-fetched conclusion for
outside analysts to draw.
Another issue of concern is maintenance. The Chinese are not particularly
known for taking a high maintenance approach to buildings and hardware
generally, preferring in many cases to just tear things like buildings down
and start over. In the space business, however, this approach is simply too
expensive. But in China the issue is not one of being overly consumptive,
it is one of not understanding that certain items are "high maintenance,"
requiring constant care and upkeep to work properly. In one sense, it is
quality control, but it extends beyond the production phase and into usage.
Again, this seems to be a cultural or systemic factor, evidenced by decay
of even relatively new structures in any Chinese city, in factories, and
even at "preserved" historical sites. Another consideration in a similar
vein is that although Chinese scientists purport to adhere to the ISO 9000
international standards for documentation, some outside analysts question
their real commitment to adhering to even their own specifications, saying
that the Chinese must constantly, if subtly, be reminded and prodded to
stick with the planned program.
Recovery from the launch failures has so far proceeded well, but slowly.
After ChinaSat-7, there were successful launches of a LM-3A carrying a
DFH-3 satellite and a LM-3 with a FY-2, both Chinese payloads. The big
test, however, came with the successful August 1997 launch of a LM-3B, the
same vehicle configuration that slammed into the hillside in 1996. 26 That
rocket carried a large, Philippine-owned Mabuhay communications satellite
called Agila 2, built by Space Systems/Loral. Insurance rates for Mabuhay
were reported at 22% if successful, 32% if it was a failure. Obtaining
insurance for another LM-3B scheduled for launch in late September or early
October 1997, carrying the Apstar 2R, was dependent upon the successful
launch of Agila 2. "Consistency" will be the key to convincing the foreign
launch market that the Chinese problems have been resolved.
Generally, it must be considered that the more capital Beijing is able to
earn through commercial launches, the less imperative earning money through
missile sales becomes. Clearly, both will be pursued. Beijing, however, is
far more likely to trade missile sales for something else that they want if
hard currency can be earned elsewhere. If capital is not available from
commercial launches though, missile sales will likely be pursued far more
China offers a wide variety of launch vehicles at competitive pricing. It
costs approximately $110M to carry a 3-ton satellite on Arianespace, $100M
on a Lockheed-Martin launcher, and $70M with China. Russian launch prices
are only slightly higher than China but they are booked up for several
years. China's available launch inventory includes:
Long March 2C (LM-2C). With a payload capacity of 2,800 kg, the LM-2C is
suitable for many low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite missions and is mainly
used for launches of recoverable satellites. To date, LM-2C has had
fourteen successful launches in succession including the launch of the
Swedish satellite FREJA as a piggyback payload on October 6, 1992. LM-2C/SD
is a three-stage vehicle developed according to the Iridium launch mission
requirements. It consists of two stages upgraded on the basis of LM-2C and
a smart dispenser (SD) developed with flight proven technologies and
Long March 2D (LM-2D). The LM-2D is a two-stage launch vehicle, developed
on the basis of the 1st and 2nd stages of the LM-4. The propellant for the
two stages is N2O4/UDMH. The payload capacity for 220 km low earth circular
orbit is 3700 kg. To date, three recoverable satellites have been
successfully launched by LM-2D.
Long March 2E (LM-2E). The two-stage LM-2E launch Vehicle has first and
second core stages similar to those of the LM-2C. There are four boosters
strapped on to the first stage of the launch vehicle each with a height of
15 meters and a diameter of 2.25 meters. The LM-2E mainly provides low
earth orbit (LEO) satellite launch services and has a LEO capacity of up to
9,500 kg. The LM-2E has launched satellites for the OPTUS. APSTAR. ASIASAT
and ECHOSTAR satellite programs.
Long March 3 (LM-3). The LM-3 launch vehicle is well-known in the
international commercial launch community for the successful launches of
the AsiaSat-1 and APSTAR-1 and 1A communications satellites. China Academy
of Launch Technology (CALT) developed the liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen
engine for the third stage of this launch vehicle with capability of
re-starting in a vacuum environment. The successful development of LM-3 in
1984 makes China the fourth country in the world capable of launching
geosynchronous satellites. The geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) capacity
of the LM-3 is 1450 kg.
Long March 3A (LM-3A). Designed and developed from advanced LM-3
technology, the LM-3A introduces powerful cryogenic third stage engines, a
more capable control system, greater flexibility in the attitude control
system and improved adaptability. LM-3A has a geosynchronous transfer orbit
(GTO) capacity of 2,600 kg and can be used for LEO, sun-synchronous orbit
(SSO) and polar orbit satellite missions. The LM-3A's first test flight was
successfully conducted on February 8, 1994.
Long March 3B (LM-3B). The LM-3B launch vehicle was designed with a LM-3A
launch vehicle as the core stage with four liquid boosters strapped on to
the first stage. The core stage of LM-3B is identical to LM-3A's except
that the stage tanks have been extended and reinforced, the fairing has
been enlarged, and the control and telemetry systems include minor
modifications to accommodate the strap-on boosters. LM-3B is capable of
launching a payload of up to 5,000 kg into geosynchronous transfer orbit
(GTO) as well as performing missions to other orbits. In addition, LM-3B is
also capable of accomplishing payload attitude adjustments, re-orientation
and spin-up requirements, and dual or multiple launch requirements.
Long March 4 (LM4). LM-4 is a three-stage launch vehicle. The 1st and 2nd
stages of LM-4 are developed on the basis of LM-3. The 3rd stage is newly
developed. The propellant for all three stages in N2O4/UDMH. The payload
capacity for 900 km SSO is 1650 kg (corresponding to a singular burn of the
3rd stage engine) and 2800 kg (corresponding to two burns). To date two
meteorological satellites have been successfully launched by LM-4.
While the Chinese would prefer to exploit their support of the commercial
launch market in such a way as to improve their launch procedures and
transfer as much western technology and procedures as possible, controls on
exports to China from the various licenses are required from the US
government. All licenses are issued by the Office of Defense Trade Controls
(ODTC) within the Department of State (DOS). Not only do they cover the
export of technical interface data; the export of tooling and electrical
connectors for the launch vehicles umbilical wiring; hardware and
equipment; but for items on the Munitions Control (MC) list there were a
number of provisos which had to be adhered to. The list below illustrates
the tenets which, official or not, many people still feel are supported to
some degree or another. 27
* The Chinese shall only be given data related to the form, fit and
function of the interfaces between the spacecraft and launch vehicles
and launch site. Specifically, information may be exchanged related to
orbit requirements, launch window, weight, center of gravity, physical
envelope, dynamic loading, electrical power usage, interface adapter
requirements, radio frequency plans, safety plans, test flows,
separation characteristics, ground handling and test equipment, and
flight event sequences.
* What may not be transferred to the Chinese is governed by the
principle that the spacecraft and its launch program cannot be used as
a tool to assist China in the design, development or enhancement of
its satellite, launch vehicle or missile programs.
* In a more subtle vein, the governing principles behind the licenses
also prohibit the transfer of substantive information as to how a
program is executed in a typical Western aerospace company.
Specifically, test philosophies, organization rationale, industrial
relationships and other procedural issues are not permitted to be
* Finally, the US government requires that their representatives
maintain full visibility of the spacecraft to launch vehicle
integration program. In practice this means that US government
representatives attend all interface meetings and have visibility of
all technical exchanges with China.
Safeguards against technology transfer have been and remain fairly
comprehensive, targeting not just technology, but know-how. Recalling the
Chinese utilization of US publicly released information in relation to
launches from Cape Canaveral to further their own program as a very simple
example, prudence is not unreasonable.
The Chinese have openly expressed bitterness about US refusal to release an
external accident report, which is interesting and somewhat ironic
considering their own security-conscious attitude. In the case of the
launch failure reviews, the first external accident review the Chinese
participated in was after the 1995 Apstar 2 failure. There, two outsiders
and one Chinese jointly reviewed the data, but failed to come up with a
conclusion that all could agree on, with the split being between the
Chinese representative and the two non-Chinese. Together, these two
experiences with accident reviews have made launch customers concerned
about apparent Chinese hesitancy in being forthright in the review process,
Communications. Linking the rural and inland regions of China to the more
coastal cities has already been cited as a constant consideration, indeed
priority, of the Chinese modernization program. Remembering the many
historical examples of uprisings in the those regions as a result of
feeling cut off from the concerns of central government, China's leaders
today want to avoid that mistake of the past. Still, currently only about
3.76% of China s population have phone service. 28 China has been using
space links as its chief means of communication between regions since 1984.
By mid-1986, five Chinese cities, Beijing, Lhasa, Urumqi, Hohhot and
Guangzhou, had domestic public communication lines. As of 1995,
construction was completed for ten domestic and international optical
trunks, between: Beijing-Hankkou-Guangzhou,
Beijing-Shenyang-Harbin, Beijing-Taiyuan-Xian, Hankou-Chingqing,
Jinan-Qingdao, Nanjing-Hangzhou, Urumqi-Yining and Sino-Korea lines. 29
China's posts and telecommunications industry is growing at a high rate.
The Chinese public communications network virtually completed the
transition from manual to automatic operation and from analogue to digital
technology in 1995. The growth rate of the total turnover of P&T services
exceeded that of the Chinese GNP for the eleventh consecutive year.
The total turnover of P&T services in 1996 was $11.78 billion and the
revenue was $11.77 billion, depicting a growth rate of 42.2 percent and 43
percent respectively over the prior year. An investment of $11.78 billion
was made in P&T fixed assets, an increase of 27 percent over the prior
year, increasing the total P&T fixed assets to $31.2 billion. 30 Urban and
rural telephone exchange capacity quadrupled in five years, reaching 85.1
million lines. The growth of the telephone market in China, particularly
regarding mobile telephones, has surpassed all predictions.
Although CASC reports that it has developed and manufactured more than
thirty various kinds of satellites for science and technology experiments,
most fall into three categories: low orbit recoverable remote sensing
satellites; geosynchronous communication-broadcasting satellites; and
sun-synchronous (or polar orbit) meteorological satellites. The Dong Fang
Hong communication satellite already referenced is the workhorse of the
Neither of the only two DFH-2 satellites ever built are currently
operational. DFH-2 had a relatively low capacity, with only four
transponders, and provided only a short-lived, partial solution to Chinese
communication needs. The first DFH-3 satellite had a fuel leak and was
never put into service. The second DFH-3 was launched in May 1997 and is
rumored to have some technical problems that render it less than fully
functional. Both DFH- 1 and DFH-2 were completely indigenous in design and
manufacture. DFH-3, however, relies heavily on foreign-sourced parts and
was basically a Western design assembled in China. This was a new approach
by which the Chinese hope to eventually develop larger, more powerful
satellites. The result, however, has been less than satisfactory.
The DHF-3 satellite design is outwardly similar to many satellites, with a
rectangular body and solar panels deployed from two sides. The payload has
twenty-four transponders, half receiving and transmitting on each of two
orthogonal linear polarizations. The six higher power transponders are for
television distribution, the others are for telephony.
Some analysts have compared difficulties with the DFH-2 and 3 satellites
with the still on-going struggle between Civil Aviation Association of
China (CAAC) to buy western-built commercial aircraft, primarily from
Boeing, and Aviation Industry of China (AVIC, formerly the Ministry of
Aviation) desire to build aircraft in China. In the satellite-world
parallel, the MPT wants western satellites, while CASC wants to be the
MPT's supplier. MPT has a long history of disappointments with CASC: the
DFH-2 which failed to reach orbit in December 1991 due to a LM-3 third
stage problem; a DFH-3 failure in late 1994 attributed to leaked fuel; and
the ChinaSat-7 failure to reach orbit because of a LM-3 third stage
problem. This policy issue will be an important one in the future.
Satellites are utilized for purposes beyond private communication also.
Using satellite television as a tool for education has been a part of
China's modernization drive for many years. The problems faced were and
remain arduous, involving not just the students but the training of
teachers as well. In 1988 it was stated that, "...there are 8 million
teachers in elementary and middle schools and 2.4 million of them require
training to be able to teach all levels in China's nine-year compulsory
education. There are also 2.6 million people needing further on-the-job
education, and training in a specialization." 31 China had already set up a
program in 1986, called China Education Television (CETV) as part of the
second phase of the "Leasing for Transition" program. The program was broad
based, including teacher training, television universities, and adult basic
education aimed at working adults who wished to learn in their free time.
Already it is estimated that more than two million people received
university and technical education through TV transmitted courses, as well
as management and technical training. 32
Remote Sensing. The Chinese launched two land survey satellites in 1984 and
1986, which took more than 3,000 land images, each one covering 32,000
square kilometers of the Earth's surface. 33 Remote sensing activities have
expanded rapidly in China over the past 15 years and now embraces more than
460 institutes and agencies, and more than 10,000 researchers. Although on
one hand this could be indicative of a flurry of activity, it is also
surely indicative of the need to keep people employed, with the likely
corollary of inefficiency which is seen in other sectors. It is thought
that the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Shanghai Institute of
Technical Physics are heavily involved with remote sensing; the Shanghai
institute of Technical Physics building optical sensors.
The main satellites used by China for land management, vegetation
monitoring, cartography and other such applications are Landsat (US), Spot
(France), JERS-1 (Japan) and its own FSW series of recoverable capsules.
The FSW series satellite are recoverable satellites which use the LM-2C and
LM-3D as launch vehicles. China has successfully launched and recovered
fourteen satellites since 1975. 34 The camera system carried by China's
FSW-2 type spacecraft can be used for military reconnaissance and remote
sensing. The camera carries 2,000 meters (6,600 ft) of film and has a
resolution capability of at least 10 meters (33 ft). 35 The FSW-2 was
launched in October 1996 using a LM-2D from the Jiuquan launch site.
China is currently developing its first Earth resources remote-sensing
satellite, the China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite (CBERS), in
partnership with Brazil. CBERS, will feature a CCD camera (with 20 m
resolution), a multispectral infrared scanner (160/180) and a wide-field
imager (258m). The Shanghai Institute of Terrestrial Physics has been a key
player working with Brazil on CBERS.
China is also expected to build a new radar remote sensing satellite for
launch in about 2002, for both civil and military uses. Apparently, it
would be comparable to Canada's Radarsat and the European Space Agency
(ESA) Earth Resource Satellite (ERS) 1-2 vehicles. The comparisons are not
coincidental. The technology sought to be used is beyond what China has
now, and outside participation would be necessary. Both GEC-Marconi and
DASA are said to be interested in the potentially lucrative deal, with
estimates of the satellite in the $250-million-class.
Meteorology. China, with its expansive land mass and need to warn its
population of meteorological events and aftermaths such as typhoons and
flooding, is pursuing a meteorological satellite capability. Two FY-I
satellites preceded the first FY-2, launched in 1997.
An earlier FY-2 was the satellite which exploded in the integration hall at
Xichang in April 1994. The Chinese have announced that they are also
planning development of a more advanced geosynchronous-orbit weather
satellite system, as well as enhancements of their polar-orbit spacecraft.
Navigation. Although the PRC has yet to establish a navigation satellite
network, research for such a system has been underway for many years, and a
future space-based navigation capability is an acknowledged goal. A
prototype navigation satellite was built by the early 1980s but was never
launched. In appearance the spacecraft resembles the Shi Jian 2 scientific
satellite launched on 19 September 1987. The navigation system was possibly
of the US Transit and Russian Tsikada class. More recent writings have
indicated a desire to deploy navigation satellites by 2000. 36 A hand-held
receiver compatible with GPS satellites, the VT 900, has already been
developed by the Chinese Carrier Rocket Technology Institute. 37
Partners bring technology and money to the table, both items the Chinese
are seeking. China has been anxious to expand its cooperation opportunities
with the US beyond the small number of space science projects already
underway. In addition, efforts are underway to open up the defense R&D and
production system to outside influences, especially in the context of
increasingly friendly military-technical relations between China and
Russia. 38 The US has been reluctant because of technology transfer
concerns and regulations, as well as political pressure from those who want
to take a tougher line with China. US businesses, however, have also been
pressuring the administration to allow them to respond to the tremendous
Chinese market potential. "The market is huge but US companies have a
tremendous disadvantage compared to the Europeans, because of their ability
to offer the kind of technology transfer packages that are restricted under
U.S. Law...We have to find a better way to 'cooperate from a Chinese
perspective.'" 39 This according to Thomas J. Dwyer, vice president for
business development with Lockheed Martin International Ltd. Unfortunately,
the things that the Chinese are looking for may be short-term advantageous
for business but have potentially clouded long-term consequences.
In January 1997, France and China began exploring a number of cooperative
efforts in space, primarily focusing on commercial Earth observation and
joint space science missions. On 16 May 1997 the Chinese and French
Governments agreed to a broad cooperation accord on space research and
satellite construction. The agreement came as part of a bilateral meeting
in Beijing, believed to include Earth observation and space science
missions. Earlier talks about launch vehicle cooperation were not
China also signed a broad space agreement with Ukraine in June 1997.
Specifics have not become known. Agreements with countries such as Ukraine
and Russia are particularly worrisome because their financial situation and
the need to prop up their own missile industries makes them amenable to
selling technology which otherwise might not be available to the Chinese.
For example, there is concern about attempts to purchase SS-I8s from
Russia. "Russian technology transfers could facilitate China's development
of advanced cruise missile weapons, and one has reason to question whether
China can be persuaded to forego exporting them, the MTCR notwithstanding."
41 China says it is interested in purchasing SS-18s to improve their space
launch systems, though for what purpose is unclear. It is clear, though,
that it would likely not be for exploration or manned spaceflight in the
near future, not with other more pragmatic issues to tackle first.
As mentioned earlier, China is currently developing a remote-sensing
satellite, CBERS, in partnership with Brazil. It is interesting that on
this project, some of the most troublesome problems that came up were over
Chinese concerns over unwanted technology transfer to Brazil and the legal
arrangements. 42 Although the CBERS project inception can be traced back to
1985, with a launch date initially scheduled for December 1992, the project
almost immediately slipped behind schedule due to difficulty with funding
on the Brazilian side stemming from political turmoil in Brazil generally,
and lack of support for the project specifically. Indeed it was not until
1992 that a secure funding commitment in Brazil could be obtained. Since
then, estimates for launch on an LM-4B have ranged from early 1998 to the
year 2000, with the earlier estimates likely now being the more accurate.
The Chinese are particularly anxious to enter into joint ventures with
foreign companies, for the multiple returns brought. Outside of Chengdu, a
factory where the Chinese were making nose cones for McDonnell-Douglas
planes shows the benefits to China such as technology and jobs. Another
example involves the EuraSpace GmbH joint venture between Daimler-Benz
Aerospace (DASA) of Germany and CASC. Euraspace will produce the Sinosat
series of communications satellites for Chinese domestic use, with DASA
providing the antennas and attitude control systems for the DFH-3
satellites. Created in 1994, the initial investment in the company was
reported as $4.4 million, with the first Sinosat satellite to be launched
in early 1998. That satellite will replace the DFH-3 that failed early in
orbit due to an on-board defect. DASA officials estimate that a dozen
satellites could be built through this joint venture arrangement, which
also includes Aerospatiale of Paris. In return for the technology transfers
from the European firms, they will receive satellite concessions.
FUTURE TRENDS IN THE CHINESE SPACE PROGRAM
Chinese priorities for the future in space will be pragmatic. In the civil
area, it is highly likely that since commercial launches provide the funds
to finance a variety of other space ventures it will be their number one
priority. Reestablishing reliability must take immediate priority over new
launcher development, with serialization of the LM then also remaining a
near-term goal. Commercial satellites will likely also be supported and
remote sensing capabilities expanded. Beyond this, everything becomes
nebulous: manned space, reusable launch vehicle, planetary exploration,
etc. In the military realm, the Second Artillery remains the favored child
of the PLA, with emphasis likely to be placed on hardware with both
modernization potential for them, as well as export sale. Cross utilization
of technology will conceivably also not just continue, but increase. Indeed
the DF- 15, for example, may benefit in the future from integration of
Global Positioning System guidance improvements.
Launchers. Until bookings for the Long March manifest are again on the
upswing it can be expected that development of new vehicles will be put on
indefinite hold or work slowed significantly. The Chinese have been working
on a new oxygen/hydrogen vehicle. The first stage for the new heavy-lift
(Ariane-5 class) booster is apparently just entering design. From Chinese
descriptions, the technology is indicated to be similar to the
sophisticated Ariane Vulcain and Japanese LE-5 engines. 43
Militarily, strategic forces are the number one budget allocation within
PLA. They are moving from a minimum deterrent strategy, primarily in
response to the Russians, to one of limited deterrence with more
flexibility, including tactical weapons and neutron bombs, in response to
both Russia and the US. There are concerns that China is trying to upgrade
its ballistic missile fleet with foreign technology, particularly MlRVs. 44
That they have already successfully accomplished multi-payload launches is
certainly a step toward that capability. Talk in the US on Theater Missile
Defense (TMD) is very distressing to the Chinese, just as SDI was in the
1980s, as something they did not and do not have the technical ability to
respond to, and therefore having the possibility of rendering the PLA
arsenal virtually obsolete.
Satellites. With telephone service available to under five percent of the
Chinese population, telecommunications is and will remain a priority for
Beijing. Plus, with the reversion of Hong Kong, China's investment stake in
Intelsat, the world's largest provider of satellite-based
telecommunications services, nearly doubled. Their interest now extends
beyond Chinese borders from a business perspective. Government supported
aerospace concerns are under constant pressure to generate revenue as both
evidence of their utility and hence justification for government support,
and as a supplement to the still decreasing amount of government support
available. It is widely believed that the former Fifth Academy, now known
as CAST, would like to build communications satellites for commercial sale.
There are multiple problems, however, which will have to be first overcome.
First, the desire to sell abroad for currency generation will have to be
balanced with the need to fulfill domestic communication needs. This
relates to the Chinese policy goal of taking their own domestic satellite
market back from foreign domination. All three goals, hard currency,
domestic communications, and market independence, contribute to the
stability equation which pervades all policy planning. It is hence likely
that government support for pursuing this objective will be forthcoming,
with the understanding that the commercial sales aspect will take the
longest to reach fruition because of the other obstacles to be overcome.
The other obstacles are technical. The Chinese are not currently
economically efficient enough to produce for the international market.
Also, the satellite technology is moving so quickly in some fields, like
solar cells, that the Chinese cannot keep up. For example, although the
Chinese have done some very good work with silicon in that area, most
Western industries have already moved on to galium-arsenide. This means
that the Chinese would still have to buy major components from abroad, as
is the case with the DFH-3, to keep up with the international market. This
quandary of "which satellite" also reflects back to the internal CASC-MPT
disagreement over whether to utilize a DFH design (built by CAST, favored
by CASC) or a new design relying on Western components (MPT favored). Since
CASC is known to have championed CAST before, in the Sinosat "competition,"
it can be expected that they will continue to do so. Whereas MPT is looking
for satellites offering the highest possible performance, CASC is looking
to provide jobs and perpetuate their own bureaucratic position, as well as
This CASC-MPT disagreement about how to proceed in the future will be
further complicated by the Global Mobile Personal Communications Satellites
(GMPCS). Introduction of GMPCS services through such systems as Iridium,
Globalstar, and others could be perceived by organizations such as the MPT
as threatening its bureaucratic power base, and subsequently resisted. 45
Having China launch some of those satellites could mute some resistance
from CASC, though whether that incentive would appease MPT is not as
China has had some success at producing space batteries and has long
experience in that area. In 1992, Sweden first used Chinese nickel-cadmium
space batteries in their FREJA satellite. Performance reports for the six
ampere battery have been good and the Chinese have a second project with
Sweden ready for launch (on a Russian launcher) in 1998. Brazil also
purchased two solar cells for the Brazilian satellite DCS-2 from the
Chinese Space Power and Development institute. In 1996, Lockheed-Martin
asked to look at the Chinese batteries for possible purchase. The Chinese
indeed sent twelve eighty-ampere batteries to Lockheed-Martin in 1997 for
testing, a considerable increase in capability from those used in FREJA.
With this kind of technical encouragement, a case could likely be made for
further resources as there is an identifiable potential for both near-term
and long-term payoffs.
Remote Sensing. Remote sensing is probably the prime area in which civil
program efforts will foster added military benefits for the Chinese.
Critical parameters and performance figures for the major subsystems and
components frequently overlap or are identical in civil and military space
systems, such as imaging systems which are moving toward higher resolution
and faster data delivery. 46 For example, the commercial products of SPOT
and LANDSAT satellites were used extensively in Operations Desert Shield
and Desert Storm for broad area search and mission planning. Geographic
Information Systems (GIS), comprising personal-computer hardware and very
sophisticated software (e.g. AutoCad), now permit users to make very
accurate digital maps with GPS data outputs. One can use such hardware and
software capabilities for more than just preprogramming the route of a
cruise missile. Better maps and commercially available satellite imagery
allow third world states to develop better targeting by improved
photogrammetric techniques. 47
China's plans are clearly ambitious. Their challenge is to match ambitions
with resources and technology. Not surprisingly or nefariously, that will
likely be their primary motivation for entering into any international
cooperative project. China fully intends to build a military capability
equal to that of the United States, but only after it has achieved a level
of economic development sufficient to underpin its superpower ambitions. In
the meanwhile, the military must improve its ability to defend China in the
event of an unforeseen conflict, to enforce China's territorial claims in
the South China Sea, and to carry out the forcible reunification of Taiwan
with the mainland if called upon to do so. Although these are short-term
goals in the grand scheme of Chinese strategic objectives, they will still
require considerable improvement over a period of a decade or more. Once
the PLA achieves these objectives, in the second or third decade of the
next century, it will turn its attention to the broader goal of matching
the full range of American military capabilities, particularly its advanced
weaponry and long-range power projection capabilities.
In the interim, the PLA is addressing some of the more technology-oriented
aspects of 1990s-style high-tech warfare. It is investing in modern
command-and-control communications systems, short-range ballistic missiles
for the operational deep strike mission, improved air defenses, and night
vision systems. Chinese publications also discuss the need for electronic
warfare and intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance systems, but it
is not clear whether they have developed or begun fielding such systems.
There has been little discussion of intelligence processing and fusion
systems such as the U.S. All-Source Analysis System (ASAS), or of dedicated
communications links for intelligence dissemination. A central feature of
current U.S. doctrine is the effort to give the tactical commander the
clearest picture of the battlefield possible, down to the brigade and even
battalion level. This requires high-capacity, robust communications links,
standardization of data formats and transmission protocols,
interoperability of intelligence communications among different systems and
services, powerful information processing systems at the lowest command
levels, and a commitment to the free flow of intelligence information to
tactical commanders. Chinese interest in enhancing their space
infrastructure directly contributes to advancing their progress toward an
information-based military capability. Obviously, we know less about
Chinese tactical intelligence than about many other subjects; nonetheless,
available sources do not indicate any effort by the Chinese to implement
such an elaborate and open intelligence environment. So the overall
prognosis is that the PLA may achieve the kind of capabilities demonstrated
by U.S. forces in the Gulf War, though it is likely to take at least 10 and
probably 20 years for it to do so.
Still, it is not so much a matter of available technology, or even
creativity in the application of technology that could hinder China's
realization of achieving an information-based RMA. The greatest impediment
to China achieving an information-based revolution may in fact be its
authoritarian political system. In America at least, it seems that the
creativity and initiative that fuel the information revolution can only
flourish in a permissive, free-market environment where the free flow of
information is encouraged. China will, of course, obtain and apply
information technology developed elsewhere, to include some significant
capability to manufacture and modify systems for its own use. As long as
the free flow of information is perceived as a threat to the political
order, however, China is likely to lag far behind in the application of
1. "Fast-track development of space technology in China," Space Policy, May
2. Liberation Army Daily, October 29, 1995, cited in PLA Activities Report,
Hong Kong: U.S. Consulate General, October 1995, pp. 26-27.
3. Arthur Fisher, "A Long Haul for Chinese Science," Popular Science,
August 1996, 37-39
4. Mark Williamson, "Chinese Space Show," SPACE and Communications,
November-December 1996, 29.
5. Nicholas L. Johnson and David M. Rodvold, Europe and Asia in Space,
1993-94, Prepared for USAF Phillips Laboratory, Kirtland AFB, NM 87117, by
Kaman Sciences Corporation, Colorado Springs, CO, 15-16
6. Yanping Chen, "China's Space Commercialization Effort, Organization,
Policies and Strategies," Space Policy, February 1993, 45-53.
7. Chen, 1993, 48
8. Michael A. Dornheim, "DF-15 Sophisticated, Hard to Intercept," Aviation
week &Space Technology, 18 March 1997, 23
9. Yangping Chen, "China's space commercialization effort," Space Policy,
February 1993, 46.
10. See: Mark Ward, "Exploding China's Dreams," Interavia, 16 March 1997,
11. Although it is sometimes professed that these facilities were
specifically built for the LM-2E as part of the Chinese manned space
12. Michael Mecham, "China Plans Seven Missions for Long March Booster in
1997," Aviation Week & Space Technology, 11 November 1996, 25.
13. Michael Mecham, "China Displays Export Air Defense Missile," Aviation
Week & Space Technology, 2 December 1996, 61
14. Chen, 47.
15. John Wilson Lewis and Hua Di, "China's Ballistic Missile Programs,"
International Security, Fall 1992, 20.
16. The APT Yearbook, 1997, 307.
17. `Chinese Detail Small-Satellite Efforts," Aviation Week & Space
Technology, 14 October 1996, 33.
18. Eight failures if the November 1995 launch of AsiaSat-2 is included. In
September 1996 Asia Satellite Telecommunications Co (AsiaSat) sought $58
million from launch insurance providers citing damage to the satellite
believed to have been incurred by a rough ride to orbit on a Long March
vehicle. Patrick Seitz, "AsiaSat Seeks $58 Million on Insurance Claim,"
Space News, 16-22 September 1996, 3. The allegations have been disputed,
however, and whether proven or not remains to be seen. See: Bansang W. Lee,
"No Presumptions," Letter to the Editor, Space News, 9-15 June 1997, 12,13.
19. Simon Fluendy, "Up in Smoke," Far Eastern Economic Review, 5 September
20. Mark Ward, "Exploding China's dreams," Interavia, 16 March 1997, 15.
21. James R. Asker, Aviation Week & Space Technology, 15 January 1996, 43.
22. Zhang Xinzhai, "The Achievements and the Future of the Development of
China's Space Technology," Aerospace China, Sumer 1996, 25.
23. Zhang, 25.
24. The M11 is a two-stage, solid propellant fueled, second generation
ballistic missile with a 300 km range and 500 kg payload capacity. R&D was
begun on it in 1985 and a photograph of it was displayed at an exhibition
in 1988. Lewis and Hua, 1992, 11-12.
25. Ward, 15.
26. Agila 2 had to expend extra fuel after launch to move 3,000 km to the
correct orbit. "Agila 2 Uses Extra Fuel to Reach Proper Orbit," Space News,
8-14 September 1997, 2.
27. Gordon Pike, "Chinese launch services: a user's guide," Space Policy,
May 1991. 113
28. The APT Yearbook, 1997, 307.
29. The APT Yearbook, 1997, 308.
30. The APT Yearbook, 1997, 308.
31. Wu Guoxiang, "China's space communication goals," Space Policy,
February 1988, 43.
32. Presentation by Baosheng Chen, "Overview of the Chinese Civil Space
Program," Washington, D.C., 3 June 1997.
33. Zhu Yilin and Xu Fuxiang, "Status and Prospects of China's Space
Programme," Space Policy, February 1997, 70.
34. Further, in August 1987 and August 1988, two FSW satellites were used
as a microgravity test platform for Matra of France and the German
Aerospace Research establishment, respectively.
35. Craig Covault, "Chinese Manned Flight Set for 1999 Liftoff," Aviation
Week & Space Technology, 21 October 1996, 22.
36. Xinhua News Agency, 13 February 1993.
37. Xinhua News Agency, 9 December 1992.
38. The content and impact of Chinese arms and technology imports are
documented and analyzed in Bates Gill and Taeho Kim, China's Arms
Acquisitions from Abroad: A Search for "Superb and Secret Weapons," Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 1995.
39. Craig Covault, "China Seeks Cooperation, Airs New Space Strategy,"
Aviation Week & Space Technology, 14 October 1996, 31.
40. Space News, 19-25 May 1997, 2.
41. Gormely and McMahon, 156.
42. See: Jose Monserrat Filho, "Brazilian-Chinese space cooperation: an
analysis," Space Policy, May 1997, 153-170.
43. Craig Covault, "Chinese Manned Flight Set for 1999 Liftoff," Aviation
Week & Space Technology, 21 October 1996, 22.
44. Joseph C. Anselmo, "U.S. Eyes China Misile Threat, "Aviation Week &
Space Technology," 21 October 1996, 23.
45. Steve Watkins, "Asian Nations Resist Opening Doors to global Phone
Services," Space News, 15-21 September 1997, 4, 32.
46. Berner, 95
47. Dennis M. Gormley and K. Scott McMahon, " Proliferation of Land-Attack
Cruise Missiles: Prospects and Policy Implications, " in Sokolski, 144