Comparison of Asian national space programs
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Several Asian countries have space programs and are actively competing to achieve scientific and technological advancements in space, a situation sometimes referred to as the Asian space race in the popular media as a reference to the earlier space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. Like the previous space race, issues involved in the current push to space include national security, which has spurred many countries to send artificial satellites as well as humans into Earth orbit and beyond. A number of Asian countries are seen as contenders in the ongoing race to be the pre-eminent power in space.
Asian space powers 
Kazakhstan does not have its own rocket technology; however, it contains the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch facility, used by Russia under a permanenet lease agreement valued at US$ 150 million annually. Iraq developed and tested the Tammouz space launch vehicle without a satellite on 5 December 1989. According to a press release by the Iraqi News Agency, the warhead completed 6 orbits, but this report was not confirmed by international observers. North Korea claims to have launched Kwangmyŏngsŏng satellites twice (31 August 1998 and in 5 April 2009); according to international observers, those rockets fell into the North Pacific without deploying their payloads. South Korea planned to commence launches in 2009 and Indonesia, Taiwan, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Turkey claim to have space programs as well.
India expects to demonstrate independent human spaceflight by 2015, and Iran and Japan have plans for independent manned spaceflights around 2020.
While the achievements of space programs run by the main Asian space players (China, India, and Japan) pale in comparison to the milestones set by the United States and the former Soviet Union, some experts believe Asia may soon lead the world in space exploration. China has been the leader of Asia's space race since the beginning of the 21st century. The first Chinese manned spaceflight, in 2003, marked the beginning of a space race in the region. At the same time, the existence of a space race in Asia is still debated. China, for example, denies that there is an Asian space race. In January 2007 China became the first Asian military-space power to send an anti-satellite missile into orbit, to destroy an aging Chinese Feng Yun 1C weather satellite in polar orbit. The resulting explosion sent a wave of debris hurtling through space at more than 6 miles per second. A month later, Japan's space agency launched an experimental communications satellite designed to enable super high-speed data transmission in remote areas. After successful achievement of geostationary technology, India launched its first Chandrayaan-1 moon mission, which discovered water on the moon. On 21 February 2008 the US Navy destroyed a disabled spy satellite USA 193. The US denied the destruction of the satellite was a response to an anti-satellite test carried out by China in 2007. The first Korean astronaut, Yi So-yeon, spent 11 days aboard the International Space Station in April 2008.
In addition to increasing national pride, countries are commercially motivated to enter space. Commercial satellites are launched for communications, weather forecasting, and atmospheric research. According to a report by the Space Frontier Foundation released in 2006, the "space economy" is estimated to be worth about $180 billion, with more than 60 percent of space-related economic activity coming from commercial goods and services. China and India propose the initiation of a commercial launch service.
China has a space program with an independent human spaceflight capability. It has developed a sizable family of successful Long March rockets. It has launched two lunar orbiters, Chang'e 1 and Chang'e 2, and intends to land a rover on the moon to retrieve samples. In 2011, China embarked on a program to established a manned space station, starting with the launch of Tiangong 1. China attempted to send a Mars probe (Yinguo 1) in 2011 on a mission with Russia which failed. China has collaborative projects with Russia, ESA, and Brazil, and has launched commercial satellites for other countries. Some analysts suggest that the Chinese space program is linked to the nation's efforts at developing advanced military technology.
China's advanced technology was the result of the integration of various related technological experiences. Early Chinese satellites, such as the FSW series, have undergone many atmospheric reentry tests. In the 1990s China had commercial launches, resulting in more launch experiences and a high success rate after the 1990s. China has aimed to undertake scientific development in fields like solar system exploration. China's Shenzhou 7 spacecraft successfully performed an EVA in September 2008. China's Shenzhou 9 spacecraft successfully performed a manned docking in June 2012. Furthermore, China's Chang'e 2 explorer became the first object to reach Sun-Earth Langrangian point in August 2011. On 13 December, 2012, Chang'e 2 flew by asteroid 4179 Toutatis successfully, becoming the first probe to orbit the moon, orbit the Lissajous orbit at Sun-Earth Langrangian point and fly by an asteroid at the closest distance of 3.2 km .
Japan has been cooperating with the United States on missile defence since 1999. North Korean nuclear and Chinese military programs represent a serious issue for Japan's foreign relations. Japan is working on military and civilian space technologies, developing missile defence systems, new generations of military spy satellites, and planning for manned stations on the moon. Japan started to construct spy satellites after North Korea test fired a Taepodong missile over Japan in 1998. The North Korean government claimed the missile was merely launching a satellite to space, and accused Japan of causing an arms race. The Japanese constitution adopted after World War II limits military activities to defensive operations. On May 2007 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for a bold review of the Japanese Constitution to allow the country to take a larger role in global security and foster a revival of national pride. Japan has not yet developed its own manned spacecraft and does not have a program in place to develop one. The Japanese space shuttle HOPE-X, to be launched by the conventional space launcher H-II, was developed but the program was postponed and eventually cancelled. Then the simpler manned capsule Fuji was proposed but not adopted. Pioneer projects of single-stage to orbit, reusable launch vehicle horizontal takeoff and landing ASSTS and vertical takeoff and landing Kankoh-maru were developed but have not been adopted. A more conservative new (JAXA manned spacecraft) project is expected to launch by 2025 as part of the Japanese plan to send manned missions to the moon. Shin'ya Matsuura is doubtful about the Japanese manned moon project, and suspects the project is a euphemism for participation in the American Constellation program. JAXA planned to send a Humanoid robot (such as ASIMO) to the moon.
The first Japanese orbital launch was achieved by a university institute rather than a national space agency. Most of the early Japanese satellites were for scientific exploration, resulting in many scientific achievements. Because the national space agency had to catch up to the university, various American space technologies, including geosynchronous launch and weather/communication satellites, were imported early on. Because of this, a strong yen and the Trade policy of Japan put Japanese commercial launches at a disadvantage. Japan would have fewer launch opportunities as a result, and a decrease in spaceflight experience led to a deterioration of the success rate after the 1990s. Most Japanese indigenous launches, excluding governmental satellites, are limited to technological experiments and scientific satellites, aimed at producing achievements on an international scale.
India's interest in space travel began in the early 1960s, when scientists launched a small rocket above Kerala. Under Vikram Sarabhai, the program focused on the practical uses of space in increasing the standard of living. Remote sensing and communications satellites were placed into orbit. Just a few days after China said that it would send a human into orbit in the second half of 2003, Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee publicly urged his country's scientists to work towards sending a man to the moon. India now has its own space launch vehicles, has launched several satellites, sent its Chandrayaan-1 probe to the moon in October 2008, and demonstrated its re-entry technology. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning its second moon mission, Chandrayaan-2, in 2013. India expects a manned space mission after 2016, and ISRO has begun preparations for a mission to Mars.
India has gained significant expertise in space technologies and has successfully conducted many commercial launches. In 2008, India had set a record by launching 10 satellites simultaneously. The mission of MIP, the first Asian probe designed for lunar impact was also completed in the same year.
Iran has developed its own satellite launch vehicle, named the Safir SLV, based on the Shahab series of IRBMs. On 2 February 2009, Iranian state television reported that Iran's first domestically made satellite Omid (from the Persian امید, meaning "Hope") had been successfully launched into low Earth orbit by a version of Iran's Safir rocket, the Safir-2. The launch coincided with the 30th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution. Iran is working on a series of indigenous satellites. Iranian universities play a very active role in the development of the country's space science and industry. Rasad-1, Iran's first imaging student nano-satellite, was launched successfully on 15 June 2011. The Iranian Space Agency has disclosed plans for a manned space program intended to put humans in space by 2021; planning has commenced on building an Iranian space town. No specific date has been announced for the launch.
Israel became the eighth country in the world to build its own satellite and launch it with its own launcher on 19 September 1988. Israel launched its first satellite, Ofeq-1, using an Israeli-built Shavit three-stage launch vehicle. The launching was the high point of a process that began in 1983 with the establishment of the Israel Space Agency under the aegis of the Ministry of Science. Space research by university-based scientists began in the 1960s, providing a ready-made pool of experts for Israel's foray into space. Since then, local universities, research institutes, and private industry, backed by the Israel Space Agency, have made progress in space technology. The agency's role is to support "private and academic space projects, coordinate their efforts, initiate and develop international relations and projects, head integrative projects involving different bodies, and create public awareness for the importance of space development."
Pakistan established the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) on 16 September 1961. On 7 June 1961, under the leadership of Air Force's Air Commodore (Brigadier-General) Władysław Józef Marian Turowicz, a two-stage rocket, Rehbar-I, was launched from the Sonmiani Flight Test Center. Pakistan was the third country in Asia and the tenth in the world to conduct such a launch. SUPARCO currently has many satellites in orbit and is planning to launch more. SUPARCO launched the multifunctioning satellite PAKSAT-IR into space. Suparco has set up the SUPARCO Satellite Ground Station as an earth observation and remote sensing satellite control center.
Other nations 
Indonesia was one of the first Asian countries to operate their own communication satellites purchased abroad, and intends to join the Asian space powers by developing and using their own small space launch vehicle Pengorbitan (RPS-420) in 2012–2014.
North Korea has many years of experience with rocket technology, which it has passed along to Pakistan and other countries. On December 12th, 2012, North Korea placed its first satellite in orbit with the launch of Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 Unit 2. On 12 March 2009 North Korea signed the Outer Space Treaty and the Registration Convention, after a previous declaration of preparations for the launch of Kwangmyongsong-2. North Korea twice announced satellite launches: Kwangmyŏngsŏng-1 on 31 August 1998 and Kwangmyŏngsŏng-2 on 5 April 2009. Neither of these claims were confirmed by the rest of the world, but the United States and South Korea believe there were tests of military ballistic missiles. The North Korean space agency is the Korean Committee of Space Technology, which operates the Musudan-ri and Tongch'ang-dong Space Launch Center rocket launching sites and has developed the Baekdusan-1 and Unha (Baekdusan-2) space launchers and Kwangmyŏngsŏng satellites. In 2009 North Korea announced several future space projects, including manned space flights and the development of a manned partially reusable launch vehicle.
South Korea is a newer player in the Asian space race. In August 2006 South Korea launched its first military communications satellite, the Mugunghwa-5. The satellite was placed in geosynchronous orbit and collects surveillance information about North Korea. The South Korean government is spending hundreds of millions of dollars in space technology and was due to launch its first space launcher, the Korea Space Launch Vehicle, in 2008. South Korea's government justifies the cost for reasons of long-term commercial benefits and national pride. South Korea has long seen North Korea's significantly longer missile range as a serious threat to its national security. With the nation's first astronaut launched into Space, Lee So-yeon, South Korea gained confidence in entering the Asian space race. They are completing the construction of Naro Space Center. Once it is operational, South Korea will be able to build satellites and missiles with local technology. South Korea is pursuing a space program that could defend the peninsula while lessening their dependency on the United States.
Other space players are Malaysia and Turkey, that announced multi-task space programs in 2006 and 2007. They intends to develop their own satellites and launchers in the near future, and manned space facilities further down the road. As of 2012 Turkey is developing its own military satellite. The first Göktürk satellite is planned to be launched in 2013. The Turkish satellite is planned to be capable of taking satellite images of greater than two meters per pixel resolution, thus making Turkey the second nation in the world capable of such a feat, after the United States. The Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, promised as a part of his 2011 election campaign to achieve the first Turkish manned spaceflight before the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey, which is 29 October 2023.
In 2009 Bangladesh announced plans to launch its first satellite into orbit by 2011. At a cost of $150 million, the communications satellite is part of a wider scheme to develop the country's telecommunications sector. Bangladesh's government stressed that the country seeks an "entirely peaceful and commercial" role in space.
Timeline of national firsts 
Also see the section: Comparison of key technologies
|– Indigenous manned missions||– Manned missions||– Lunar or Interplanetary missions||– Other missions|
|Date||Nation||Name||The firsts in Asia||World achievements|
|4 Oct 1957|| USSR
(now under Kazakhstan)
|Baikonur Cosmodrome||Satellite launch pad||The first satellite, Sputnik 1, was launched.|
|11 Feb 1970||Japan||Osumi||Satellite||The smallest satellite launch vehicle (L-4S; 9.4t weight, 1.4m diameter)|
|24 Feb 1975||Japan||Taiyo||Solar probe|
|26 Oct 1975||China||FSW-0||Satellite recovery|
|26 Oct 1975||China||FSW-0:
– 10m (1975)
– 4m (1992)
– 0.5m (till 2007)
|High resolution imaging satellite|
|8 Jul 1976||Indonesia||Palapa A1||Geosynchronous satellite (launched by NASA)|
|23 Feb 1977||Japan||N-I||Geosynchronous launch|
|21 Feb 1979||Japan||Hakucho||Space observatory|
|23 Jul 1980||Vietnam||Phạm Tuân||Asian in space (Soyuz 37)|
|20 Sep 1981||China||FB-1||Simultaneous satellite launch|
|8 Jan 1985||Japan||Sakigake||Leaving Earth orbit||The first interplanetary launch by solid rocket (M-3SII)|
|17 Jun 1985||Saudi Arabia||Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud||First Asian on Space Shuttle mission (STS-51-G)|
|19 Mar 1990||Japan||Hagoromo||Reach lunar orbit (assumed)|
|7 Apr 1990||China||CZ-3||Commercial launch (AsiaSat 1)|
|10 Apr 1993||Japan||Hiten||Intentional lunar impact||The first aerobraking test|
|8 Jul 1994||Japan||Chiaki Mukai||Asian woman in space (STS-65)|
|19 Nov 1997||Japan||Takao Doi||Spacework (STS-87)|
|28 Nov 1997||Japan||ETS-VII||Rendezvous docking|
|3 Jul 1998||Japan||Nozomi||Martian mission(Failure)|
|30 Oct 2000||China||Beidou||Satellite navigation system|
|10 Sep 2002||Japan||Kodama||Data relay satellite (with ESA)|
|15 Oct 2003||China||Yang Liwei||Asian indigenously in space|
|15 Oct 2003||China||Shenzhou 5||Manned spacecraft|
|19 Nov 2005||Japan||Hayabusa||Soft-landed probe on extraterrestrial object||The first asteroid ascent|
|11 Jan 2007||China||FY-1C||ASAT test||Highest in history with altitude 865 km, also the fastest with speed 18k miles|
|23 Feb 2008||Japan||WINDS||Internet satellite||The fastest internet satellite|
|11 Mar 2008||Japan||Japanese Experiment Module||Manned foundations in space (STS-123, STS-124, STS-127)||The world’s largest pressurized volume in space|
|25 Apr 2008||China||Tianlian I||Indigenous Tracking & Data Relay Satellite System
First TDRS system to support manned missions
|27 Sep 2008||China||Zhai Zhigang (Shenzhou 7)||Indigenous EVA|
|27 Sep 2008||China||BanXing||Manned spacecraft-launched satellite|
|14 Nov 2008||India||Moon Impact Probe||Probe designed for Lunar impact||Found water on moon before descending.|
|23 Jan 2009||Japan||GOSAT||Greenhouse gas explorer|
|21 May 2010||Japan||IKAROS||Solar sail||The first spacecraft to successfully demonstrate solar-sail technology in interplanetary space|
|25 Aug 2011||China||Chang'e 2||Lunar probe with extended deep space missions||The first probe to reach Sun-Earth Lagrangian point from the lunar orbit|
|29 Sep 2011||China||Tiangong-1||Space station|
|18 Jun 2012||China||Shenzhou 9||Manned space docking with Tiangong-1
First Indigenous Chinese women astronaut
|13 Dec 2012||China||Chang'e 2||Lunar probe with extended asteroid mission to 4179 Toutatis||First object to reach asteroid directly from Sun-Earth Langrangian point
Closest flyby of an asteroid at a distance of only 3.2 km
First probe to explore both Moon and asteroid.
- Other achievements
- Most numerical multiple-satellite payload transfer capability – India (PSLV, 10 satellites in one launch)
- First Asian country to collaborate International Space Station – Japan
- Largest budget for space research – Japan
- Most spaceports – China (5) 
|First success||LEO||GTO / GEO||Notes|
|11 Feb 1970||L-4S (26 kg)||First launch was 1966 (failed 4 times).|
|24 Apr 1970||CZ-1 (0.3 t)||First launch failed in 1969.|
|26 Jul 1975||FB-1 (2.5 t)||Suborbital flight was performed in 1972.
CZ-2A (LEO 2t) failed in 1974.
|9 Sep 1975||N-I (GEO 0.13 t)||LEO 1.2 t
First GTO launch was 23 Feb 1977.
|11 Feb 1981||N-II (GTO 0.54 t)||LEO 2 t
First GTO launch was 10 Aug.
|8 Apr 1984||CZ-3 (LEO 5 t / GTO 1.5 t)||virtually GTO use
First launch failed on 29 Jan.
|16 Jul 1990||CZ-2E (LEO 9.2 t / GTO 3.5 t)|
|4 Feb 1994||H-II (LEO 10 t / GTO 3.9 t)|
|20 Aug 1997||CZ-3B (LEO 12 t / GTO 5.2 t)||virtually GTO use
First launch failed in 1996.
|18 Dec 2006||H-IIA204 (LEO 15 t / GTO 5.8 t)|
|10 Sep 2009||H-IIB (LEO 19 t / GTO 8 t)|
|planned (2015)||CZ-5 (LEO 25 t / GTO 14 t)|
Comparison of key technologies 
First achieved attempts (or future plans) of each country are listed by chronological order unless otherwise noted.
- China – 2003 – Shenzhou
- Japan – 2020 – JAXA manned HTV now, Fuji was
- India - 2020 or later – Orbital Vehicle
- Iran – 2021 – ISA manned spacecraft
- Space shuttle programs
- Including shuttle-shaped hypersonic reentry vehicles reach to space.
- Japan – 1996 – HYFLEX under HOPE-X program
- India – ? – AVATAR RLV (approved by ISRO)
- China – ? – Shenlong, Project 921-3
- Orbiters to Moon
- Japan – 1990 – Hiten/Hagoromo； 2007 - SELENE
- China – 2007 – Chang'e 1； 2010 - Chang'e 2
- India – 2008 – Chandrayaan-1
- Orbiters to Mars
- Intentional Moon landings
- Japan – 1993 – Hiten (systematically crashed on end-mission)
- India – 2008 – MIP (Moon impactor)
- China – 2009 – Chang'e 1 (systematically crashed on end-mission)
- Lunar rover programs
- Multi-satellite simultaneous launches (by number)
- India – 10 Satellites (PSLV-CA C9, 2008)
- Japan – 8 Satellites (H-IIA F15, 2009)
- People's Republic of China – 4 Satellites (Long March 2D F19, 2013)
- The heaviest satellite launch vehicle in each country (in active, by capacity)
- Japan – H-IIB – LEO 19t / GTO 8t (2009 – active)
- China – CZ-3B/E – LEO 12t / GTO 5.5t (1996 – active)
- India – GSLV – LEO 5t / GTO 2.5t (2001 – active)
- Israel – Shavit – LEO 0.4t (1988 – active)
- Iran – Safir-2B – LEO 50 kg (2008 – active)
- South Korea – KSLV-1 – LEO 0.1t (2009 – active)
- North Korea – Taepodong-2(Unha-2) – ? (2006 – active)
- Continuous satellite launch success (by number)
- China – Long March – 75 times for 13 years (1996–2009)
- Japan – N, H and Mu – 33 times for 15 years (1979–1994)
- India – ASLV, PSLV and GSLV – 12 times for 12 years (1994–2005)
- Israel – Shavit – 3 times for 8 years (1988–1995)
- Iran – Safir – 3 times for 4 years (2009–2012)
- Japan - 2001 - LE-7A, Isp (Vac.)：440s, Thrust (Vac.)：1,074 kN.
- China - 1994 - YF-75, Isp (Vac.)：437s, Thrust (Vac.)：78 kN
- India - Under Development - CE-7.5, Isp (Vac.)：454s, Thrust (Vac.)：73 kN；Under Development - CE-20, Isp (Vac.)：443s, Thrust (Vac.)：200 kN
- India - S-139, Burn time 100s, Isp (Vac.)：166s, Thrust (Vac.)：4,700 kN.
- Japan - SRB-A, Burn time 100s, Isp (Vac.)：280s, Thrust (Vac.)：2,260 kN.
- Israel - Shavit's First Stage, Burn time 82s, Isp (Vac.)：280s, Thrust (Vac.)：1650.2 kN.
- Optical Imaging Satellites (by resolution)
- Israel - 2010 - Ofeq 9 - Highest available resolution：0.5 meter
- Japan - 2011 - Optical 4 - Highest available resolution：0.6 meter
- South Korea - 2012 - KOMPSAT-3 - Highest available resolution：0.7 meter
- India - 2007 - Cartosat 2 - Highest available resolution：0.8 meter
- China - 2012 - ZY-3 - Highest available resolution：2.1 meters
- Iran - 2011 - Rasad 1 - Highest available resolution：150 meters
- Radar Imaging Satellites (by resolution)
- Israel - 2008 - TechSAR 1 Highest available resolution：1 meter
- Japan - 2003 - Radar 1 Highest available resolution：3 meters
- India - 2012 - RISAT 1 Highest available resolution：3 meters
- China - 2012 - HJ-1C Highest available resolution：5 meters
- Communications Satellite Technology
- India - 2005 - INSAT-4A 3,460 kg, 24 transponders, Solar Array provide a power of 5.9 kW.
- China - 2011 - NIGCOMSAT 1R 5,150 kg, 28 transponders, Solar Array provide a power of 10.5 kW.
- Japan - 2011 - ST-2 5,090 kg, 51 transporters
- Resupply spacecraft
- Solar Sail Spacecraft
- Spacecraft Power by Plasma Thruster
- Venus Orbiter
- Sun-Earth Langrangian point Explorer
- Asteroid Explorer
|Nation||Multi-satellite simultaneous launches||Launch of foreign satellite||Geostationary launches||Atmos-
|Rendezvous dockings in orbit||Satellite navigation system||Data relay satellites||Martian missions||Solar Space Missions||Space observatories|
Dong Fang Hong 02
Solar Space Telescope
Space Hard X-Ray Modulation Telescope
? : Date is assumed
Only projects with under-development or above status have been listed
Solar System exploration 
Solar System exploration and manned spaceflights are major space technologies in the public eye. Since Sakigake, the first interplanetary probe in Asia, was launched in 1985, Japan has completed the most planetary exploration, but other nations are catching up.
Moon race 
The Moon is thought to be rich in Helium-3, which could one day be used in nuclear fusion power plants to fuel future energy demands in Asia. All three main Asian space powers plan to send men to the moon in the distant future and have already sent lunar probes.
Probing the moon 
Japan was the first Asian country to launch a lunar probe. The Hiten (Japanese: "flying angel") spacecraft (known before the launch as Muses-A), built by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science of Japan, was launched on 24 January 1990. In many ways, the mission did not go as was planned. Kaguya, the second Japanese lunar orbiter spacecraft, was launched on 14 September 2007.
China launched its first lunar probe, Chang'e-1, on 24 October 2007 and successfully entered lunar orbit on 5 November 2007.
India launched its first lunar probe, Chandrayaan-1, on 22 October 2008 and successfully entered its final lunar orbit on 2 November 2008. The mission did not go as planned, and signal to the satellite was lost less than halfway through the mission. However, it was able to successfully complete 95% of its objectives and was hence considered a major success. The probe detected water on the lunar surface.
Moon landings 
The first confirmed moon landing from Asia was Hiten's mission in 1993. An intentional hard landing at the end of the mission, some pictures of the lunar surface were taken before impact. Hiten was not designed as a moon lander and had few scientific instruments for lunar exploration. The next Japanese moon landing program was the LUNAR-A, developed from 1992. Although the LUNAR-A orbiter was cancelled, its penetrators are integrated into the Russian Luna-Glob program, which was scheduled to launch in 2011. The penetrators are "relatively" hard landers, but they are not expected to be destroyed at impact.
The first Asian probe that was part of a lunar landing program was the Indian Moon Impact Probe (MIP) released from Chandrayaan-1 in 2008. MIP was a hard lander and was designed to move the ground under for research purposes. MIP was designed to be destroyed at impact. Its instruments performed lunar observations to within 25 minutes before impact. The landing test will be applied to future soft landings such as Chandrayaan-2, planned for 2016.
The Chinese Chang'e-1 spacecraft also achieved a systematic hard landing at the end of its mission in 2009, when China became the sixth country to reach the lunar surface. One purpose of the lander was to pre-test for future soft landings. A Chinese lunar soft lander is scheduled to be achieved with the Chang'e-3 mission.
Asians on the moon 
In the four decades since Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon, Asia's major powers have had ambitions to send the first Asian to the moon. China, Japan, and India, which have already sent orbiters, all have plans to send a manned spacecraft to the moon; the earliest schedules would have the first manned lunar spaceflight in the 2020s.
Exploration of the major planets 
Japanese interplanetary probes have been limited to Small Solar System bodies such as comets and asteroids. JAXA's Nozomi probe was launched in 1998, but contact was lost with the probe due to electrical failures before visiting the planet Mars. The second Japanese probe for the planet Venus, Akatsuki, was launched in 2010 but has failed as for now.
Chinese scientists expect that China will take 20 years to launch independent planetary probes. The Chinese manned Mars exploration program is planned for around 2050 by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
India is planning a Mars orbiter, which will be launched in 2013 at the earliest.
The first student planetary probe may come from Asia. The PLANET-C probe is planned to bring the UNITEC-1 student spacecraft to Venus. Unfortunately,UNITEC-1 lost contact soon after launch and failed to achieve mission objectives.
Asian space agencies and programs 
- Bangladesh – Space Research and Remote Sensing Organization (SPARRSO)
- People's Republic of China – China National Space Administration (CNSA) (Chinese space program)
- India – Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
- Indonesia – National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN)
- Iran – Iranian Space Agency (ISA)
- Israel – Israeli Space Agency (ISA)
- Japan – Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
- Malaysia – Malaysian National Space Agency (MNSA)
- North Korea – Korean Committee of Space Technology (KCST)
- Pakistan – Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO)
- Philippines – Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA)
- South Korea – Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI)
- Republic of China – National Space Organization (NSPO)
- Thailand – Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA)
See also 
Notes and References 
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- "Planning Commission Okays ISRO Manned Space Flight Program".
- "Asia could win next 'Space Race', US scientists fear".
- Talmadge, Eric (2007-04-19). "Japan trying to catch China in Asia space race". The Seattle Times.
- "China Denies There's an Asian Space Race". Fox News. 2007-11-01.
- "Concern over China's missile test". BBC News. 2007-01-19. Retrieved 2010-01-01. BBC News
- "Shooting down satellite raises concerns about military space race".
- "Heated Space Race Under Way in Asia". ABC News
- Rincon, Paul (2008-02-21). "Military satellites 'may get stealthy'". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
- "Korea to enter space race in 2008".
- "China's man in space gets mixed reaction".
- "North Korea nuclear and China military programmes a worry: Japan".
- "Japan Joins U.S. in Dangerous Space Race".
- "Japanese Satellites Work in Orbit Above Earth".
- "Abe calls for a 'bold review' of Japanese Constitution".
- "浮上した日本の有人月探査計画（1）" (in Japanese). Nikkei BP.
- "The dawn of a new space race?". BBC News. 2005-10-14. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
- "India Limbers Up for Space Race As Prime Minister Asks for the Moon".
- "India 'on course' for the Moon". BBC News. 2003-04-04. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
- "India and US to explore the Moon". BBC News. 2006-05-09. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
- "What is Chandrayaan-2?".
- India plans manned space missions since 2014–2015 – – MSNBC.com
- ISRO Eyes Mission To Mars As Government Sanctions Funding Mars Daily. PTI. August 13, 2009
- "PSLV puts 10 satellites in orbit". The Hindu. 29 April 2008. Retrieved 2013-02-28.
- PSLV Rocket Launches 10 Satellites
- "Iran launches satellite; U.S. expresses concern". Reuters. 2009-02-03.
- "KCNA Report on DPRK's Accession to International Space Treaty and Convention". KCNA. 2009-03-12. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
- "朝鲜宣布发展太空计划抗衡"西方强权"". Rodong Sinmun. 2009-02-08. Retrieved February 26, 2009.
- "South Korea joins Asian space race".
- "Abe calls for a 'bold review' of Japanese Constitution".
- Sudworth, John (2007-11-12). "South Korea buys into space dream". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
- "Boost for South Korea's space program".
- "Turkey’s spy sat to zoom in on Israeli secrets".
- 返回式卫星 (China's First Atmospheric Reentry Satellite)
- Harbin Institute of Technology -> FSW satellite series (Note: the definition of high resolution (ground resolution) < 4.5m)
- Beidou navigation system first goes to public, with resolution 0.5m (from official Xinhua News Agency), with photos
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