Although China's space program has existed since 1956, CNSA is a relatively new agency created in 1993 when the Ministry of Aerospace Industry was split into CNSA and the China Aerospace Corporation (CASC). The former was to be responsible for policy, while the latter was to be responsible for execution. This arrangement proved somewhat unsatisfactory, as these two agencies were, in effect, one large agency, sharing both personnel and management.
As part of a massive restructuring in 1998, CASC was split into a number of smaller state-owned companies. The intention appeared to have been to create a system similar to that characteristic of Westerndefense procurement in which entities which are government agencies, setting operational policy, would then contract out their operational requirements to entities which were government-owned, but not government-managed.
CNSA was established as a government institution to develop and fulfill China's due international obligations, with the approval by the Eighth National People's Congress of China (NPC). The Ninth NPC assigned CNSA as an internal structure of the Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (COSTIND). CNSA assumes the following main responsibilities: signing governmental agreements in the space area on behalf of organizations, inter-governmental scientific and technical exchanges; and also being in charge of the enforcement of national space policies and managing the national space science, technology and industry.
CNSA's logo is a similar design to that of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. The arrow in middle has a similar shape as the Chinese character 人 which means 'human' or 'people', to state that human is the center of all space explorations. The three concentric ellipses stand for three types of Escape Velocity (minimum speed needed to reach sustainable orbits, to escape the earth system, and to escape the solar system) which are milestones of space exploration. The second ring is drawn with a bold line, to state that China has passed the first stage of exploration (earth system) and is undergoing the second stage exploration (within the solar system). The 人 character stands above the three rings to emphasize humanity's capability to escape and explore. Olive branches were added to state that China's space exploration is peaceful in nature.