Highlights –

  • CNSA may build defense system against near-earth asteroids.
  • In 2020, the European Space Agency signed a deal with NASA worth $156 million.
  • By 2045 China plans to operate thousands of space flights a year.
  • The country also aims to carry tons of cargo and passegers.

A senior space agency official from China National Space Administration (CNSA) on Saturday briefly hinted that they will discuss building a defense system against near-Earth asteroids, as the country steps up its longer-term space ambitions.

According to Zhang Kejian, the head of the CNSA however did not provide further detail in his opening remarks at a ceremony for China’s Space Day in the eastern city of Nanjing.

The Chinese government has made space exploration a top priority in recent years. The country by 2045is aiming to establish a program operating thousands of space flights a year and carrying tens of thousands of tons of cargo and passengers.

Last year, the European Space Agency is said to have signed a deal worth 129 million euros ($156 million) to build a spacecraft for a joint project with NASA examining how to deflect an asteroid heading for Earth.

Ye Peijian, an academic at the Chinese Academy of Sciences mentioned that China is pushing forward a mission where one space probe will land on a near-Earth asteroid to collect samples, fly back toward Earth to release a capsule containing the samples, and then orbit another comet. He also said that the mission could take about a decade to complete.

China and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding last month to set up an international lunar research station.

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