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[1] 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.[2] A number of Asian countries are seen as contenders in the ongoing race to be the pre-eminent power in space.[3]

Asian space powers[edit]

Of the ten countries that have independently successfully launched a satellite into orbit, six are Asian: China, India, Iran, Israel, Japan and North Korea.

Kazakhstan does not have its own rocket technology; however, it contains the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch facility, used by Russia under a permanent 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.[citation needed]

China's first manned spacecraft entered orbit in October 2003, making China the first Asian nation to send a human into space.[4]

India expects to demonstrate independent human spaceflight by 2015,[5] 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.[6] China has been the leader of Asia's space race since the beginning of the 21st century.[7] 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.[8] 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.[9][10] A month later, Japan's space agency launched an experimental communications satellite designed to enable super high-speed data transmission in remote areas.[9] After successful achievement of geostationary technology, India launched its first Chandrayaan-1 moon mission, which discovered water on the moon.[11] The first Korean astronaut, Yi So-yeon, spent 11 days aboard the International Space Station in April 2008.[12]

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.[2] China and India propose the initiation of a commercial launch service.

China[edit]

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. On 2 December 2013 China launched a modified Long March 3B rocket, China's Chang'e 3 moon lander and its rover Yutu toward the moon at 1:30 a.m.[13] It also has plans 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.[4] 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.[14]

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[edit]

The H-IIA F11 launch vehicle lifts off from Tanegashima Space Center in Japan

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.[15] 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.[16] 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.[17] 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.[18] 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.[19] JAXA planned to send a Humanoid robot (such as ASIMO) to the moon.[19]

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.[citation needed]

India[edit]

ISRO PSLV-C25 carrying India's Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft

India's interest in space travel began in the early 1960s, when scientists launched a small rocket above Kerala.[20] 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.[21] 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.[22] India now has its own space launch vehicles, has launched several satellites, sent its Chandrayaan-1 probe to the moon in October 2008[23] and launched its Mars Orbiter Mission on November 5, 2013.[24] The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has planned its second moon mission, Chandrayaan-2, in 2017.[25][26] ISRO has demonstrated its re-entry technology and expects a manned space mission after 2016.[27] India has gained significant expertise in space technologies and has successfully conducted many commercial launches. In 2008, India set a record by launching 10 satellites simultaneously.[28][29] The mission of MIP, the first Asian probe designed for lunar impact was also completed in the same year.

Iranian Simorgh SLV

Iran[edit]

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.[30] 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.[citation needed]

Israel[edit]

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.[31] 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."[32]

North Korea[edit]

North Korea has many years of experience with rocket technology, which it has passed along to Pakistan and other countries. On December 12, 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,[33] 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.[34]

South Korea[edit]

South Korea is a newer player in the Asian space race.[35] 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.[36] 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.[37] 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.[38] South Korea is pursuing a space program that could defend the peninsula while lessening their dependency on the United States.

Other nations and regions[edit]

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.

Other space players are Malaysia and Turkey, that announced multi-task space programs in 2006 and 2007. They intend 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.[39] 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.[citation needed]

Taiwan has made some sojourns into space, including space launchers. Thailand, Vietnam and some other countries have launched satellites.[citation needed]

Pakistan has launched a rocket, Rehbar-I and few satellites, namely Badr-1 and Paksat-1R. Pakistan's national space agency SUPARCO has set up an earth observation and remote sensing satellite control center, the SUPARCO Satellite Ground Station.[40]

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.[41]

Timeline of national firsts[edit]

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[42]
26 Oct 1975  China FSW-0:
– 10m (1975)
FSW-1B:
– 4m (1992)[43]
Beidou:
– 0.5m (till 2007)[44]
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[45]
8 Jan 1985  Japan Sakigake Leaving Earth orbit The first interplanetary launch by solid rocket (M-3SII)
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[46]
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[47] Data relay satellite (with ESA)
15 Oct 2003  China Yang Liwei Asian indigenously in space[clarification needed]
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[48]
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[49]
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 Discovered water on the moon before impact.[50][51]
23 Jan 2009  Japan GOSAT Greenhouse gas explorer[52]
20 May 2010  Japan Akatsuki Venus mission (Failure)
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 (asteroid mission to 4179 Toutatis). The first probe to reach Sun-Earth Lagrangian point from the lunar orbit and from there directly to an asteroid. Closest flyby of an asteroid at a distance of only 3.2 km.[53]
29 Sep 2011  China Tiangong-1 Space station
18 Jun 2012  China Shenzhou 9 First manned space docking (with Tiangong-1)
14 December 2013  China Chang'e 3/Yutu First lunar soft landing and lunar rover.

Other achievements[edit]

Timeline of the heaviest satellite launch vehicle in Asia
First success LEO GTO / GEO Notes
11 Feb 1970 Japan L-4S (26 kg) First launch was 1966 (failed 4 times).
24 Apr 1970 China CZ-1 (0.3 t) First launch failed in 1969.
26 Jul 1975 China FB-1 (2.5 t) Suborbital flight was performed in 1972.
ChinaCZ-2A (LEO 2t) failed in 1974.
9 Sep 1975 Japan N-I (GEO 0.13 t) LEO 1.2 t
First GTO launch was 23 Feb 1977.
11 Feb 1981 Japan N-II (GTO 0.54 t) LEO 2 t
First GTO launch was 10 Aug.[citation needed]
8 Apr 1984 China CZ-3 (LEO 5 t / GTO 1.5 t) virtually GTO use
First launch failed on 29 Jan.[citation needed]
16 Jul 1990 China CZ-2E (LEO 9.2 t / GTO 3.5 t)
4 Feb 1994 Japan H-II (LEO 10 t / GTO 3.9 t)
20 Aug 1997 China CZ-3B (LEO 12 t / GTO 5.2 t) virtually GTO use
First launch failed in 1996.[citation needed]
18 Dec 2006 Japan H-IIA204 (LEO 15 t / GTO 5.8 t)
10 Sep 2009 Japan H-IIB (LEO 19 t / GTO 8 t)
planned (2015)[54] China CZ-5 (LEO 25 t / GTO 14 t)

Comparison of key technologies[edit]

First achieved attempts (or future plans) of each country are listed by chronological order unless otherwise noted.

Indigenous Low Earth Orbit Human SpaceFlight programs
Space shuttle programs
Including shuttle-shaped hypersonic reentry vehicles reach to space.
Space Station Module Prototype
Orbiters to Moon
Orbiters to Mars
Orbiter to Venus
Asteroid Explorer
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)
The heaviest satellite launch vehicle in each country (in active, by capacity)
Continuous satellite launch success (by number)
Capability of Launch Vehicle (Payload to GTO)
Capability of Launch Vehicle (Payload to LEO)
Cryogenic rocket engine
  •  Japan - 2001 - LE-7A, Isp (Vac.):440s, Thrust (Vac.):1,074 kN.
  •  China - 1994 - YF-75, Isp (Vac.):437s, Thrust (Vac.):78 kN
  •  India - 2012 - CE-7.5, Isp (Vac.):454s, Thrust (Vac.):73 kN;Under Development - CE-20, Isp (Vac.):443s, Thrust (Vac.):200 kN
Solid Rocket
  •  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)
  •  Japan - 2013 - Optical 5V - Highest available resolution:0.4 meter[62]
  •  Israel - 2010 - Ofeq 9 - Highest available resolution:0.5 meter[63]
  •  South Korea - 2012 - KOMPSAT-3 - Highest available resolution:0.7 meter[64]
  •  India - 2007 - Cartosat 2 - Highest available resolution:0.8 meter[65]
  •  China - 2012 - ZY-3 - Highest available resolution:2.1 meters[66]
  •  Iran - 2011 - Rasad 1 - Highest available resolution:150 meters[67]
Radar Imaging Satellites (by resolution)
  •  Japan - 2013 - Radar 4 Highest available resolution:less than 1 meter[68]
  •  Israel - 2008 - TechSAR 1[69] Highest available resolution:1 meter[70]
  •  South Korea - 2013 - KOMPSat 5 Highest available resolution:1 meter[71]
  •  India - 2012 - RISAT 1[72] Highest available resolution:1 meter[73][74]
  •  China - 2012 - HJ-1C[75] Highest available resolution:5 meters[76]
Communications Satellite Technology
  •  India - 2005 - INSAT-4A[77][78] 3,460 kg, 24 transponders, Solar Array provide a power of 5.9 kW.
  •  China - 2011 - NIGCOMSAT 1R[79] 5,150 kg, 28 transponders, Solar Array provide a power of 10.5 kW.
  •  Japan - 2011 - ST-2[80] 5,090 kg, 51 transporters[81]
Resupply spacecraft
Solar Sail Spacecraft
Spacecraft Power by Plasma Thruster
Other comparable technologies
Nation Multi-satellite simultaneous launches Launch of foreign satellite Geostationary launches Atmos-
pheric reentry
Rendezvous dockings in orbit Satellite navigation system Data relay satellites Martian missions Solar Space Missions Space observatories
 China 1981
(FB-1)[84]
3 Sats
1990
CZ-2E
Pakistan science satellite
1984
Dong Fang Hong 02
(by CZ-3)
1975
FSW-0
2011
Tiangong 1
2000
Beidou
2008
Tianlian I
2011
Yinghuo-1
(orbiter)(Failure)
20xx ?
(planned)
Solar Space Telescope
2015
Space Hard X-Ray Modulation Telescope
 India 1999
(PSLV-CA C2)
3 Sats
1999
PSLV
South Korea KitSat 3
Germany DLR-Tubsat
2001
GSAT
(by GSLV)
2007
SRE-1
planned 2013
IRNSS[85]
2002
Kalpana-1[86]
2013–2015
Mars Orbiter Mission[24]
(orbiter)
2017/18 (planned)
Aditya
2015 (planned)
Astrosat
 Japan 1986
(H-I H15F)[87]
3 Sats
2002
H-IIA
Australia FedSat
1977
ETS-II[88]
(by N-I)
1994
OREX
1997
ETS-VII[89]
2010
QZSS[90]
2002
Kodama
1998
Nozomi
(orbiter)(Failure)
1975
Taiyo[91]
1979
Hakucho

? : Date is assumed
Only projects with under-development or above status have been listed

Orbital Launch Frequency[edit]

2001[92] 2002[93] 2003[94] 2004[95] 2005[96] 2006[97] 2007[98] 2008[99] 2009[100] 2010[101] 2011[102] 2012[103] 2013[104] Total
 China 1 5 7 8 5 6 9 11 6 15 19 19 15 126
 Japan 1 3 3 - 2 6 2 1 3 2 3 2 3 31
 India 2 1 2 1 1 1 3 3 2 3 3 2 3 27
 Iran - - - - - - - 1 1 - 1 3 1 7
 North Korea - - - - - - - - 1 - - 2 - 3
 Israel - 1 - 1 - - 1 - - 1 - - - 4
 South Korea - - - - - - - - 1 1 - - 1 3
Total 4 10 12 10 8 13 15 16 14 22 26 28 23

Solar System exploration[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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 was considered a major success and the probe detected water on the lunar surface.

Moon landings[edit]

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.[105] 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,[106] 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 achieved with the Chang'e-3 mission.

Asians on the moon[edit]

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[edit]

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.[107] The Chinese manned Mars exploration program is planned for around 2050 by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.[108]

India has successfully launched Mars Orbiter Mission on November 5, 2013. It is expected to reach Mars by September 2014. If this mission turns up to be success, India will be the first Asian nation to have successfully sent a satellite to Mars because the previous attempts of Japan & China were failures.

The first student planetary probe may come from Asia. The PLANET-C probe is planned to bring the UNITEC-1 student spacecraft to Venus.[109] Unfortunately,UNITEC-1 lost contact soon after launch and failed to achieve mission objectives.

Asian space agencies and programs[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

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  3. ^ "Asia Nations Gaining Ground in Space Race". 
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  5. ^ "Planning Commission Okays ISRO Manned Space Flight Program". 
  6. ^ "Asia could win next 'Space Race', US scientists fear". 
  7. ^ Talmadge, Eric (2007-04-19). "Japan trying to catch China in Asia space race". The Seattle Times. 
  8. ^ "China Denies There's an Asian Space Race". Fox News. 2007-11-01. 
  9. ^ a b "Concern over China's missile test". BBC News. 2007-01-19. Retrieved 2010-01-01.  BBC News
  10. ^ "Shooting down satellite raises concerns about military space race". 
  11. ^ "Heated Space Race Under Way in Asia".  ABC News
  12. ^ "Korea to enter space race in 2008". 
  13. ^ Leonard David Space.com
  14. ^ "China's man in space gets mixed reaction". 
  15. ^ "North Korea nuclear and China military programmes a worry: Japan". 
  16. ^ "Japan Joins U.S. in Dangerous Space Race". 
  17. ^ "Japanese Satellites Work in Orbit Above Earth". 
  18. ^ "Abe calls for a 'bold review' of Japanese Constitution". 
  19. ^ a b "浮上した日本の有人月探査計画(1)" (in Japanese). Nikkei BP. 
  20. ^ "The dawn of a new space race?". BBC News. 2005-10-14. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  21. ^ "India Limbers Up for Space Race As Prime Minister Asks for the Moon". 
  22. ^ "India 'on course' for the Moon". BBC News. 2003-04-04. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  23. ^ "India and US to explore the Moon". BBC News. 2006-05-09. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  24. ^ a b c "Indian spacecraft soars on historic journey to Mars". Space Flight Now. 5 November 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  25. ^ "India to go alone in second moon mission". UMMID. August 18, 2013. Retrieved 2013-09-15. 
  26. ^ "What is Chandrayaan-2?". 
  27. ^ India plans manned space missions since 2014–2015 – – MSNBC.com
  28. ^ a b c "PSLV puts 10 satellites in orbit". The Hindu. 29 April 2008. Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  29. ^ a b c PSLV Rocket Launches 10 Satellites
  30. ^ "Iran launches satellite; U.S. expresses concern". Reuters. 2009-02-03. 
  31. ^ "Israel in Space Program". Aerospaceguide.net. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  32. ^ http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFAArchive/2000_2009/2003/6/Israel-s%20Space%20Program
  33. ^ "KCNA Report on DPRK's Accession to International Space Treaty and Convention". KCNA. 2009-03-12. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  34. ^ "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. 
  35. ^ "South Korea joins Asian space race". 
  36. ^ "Abe calls for a 'bold review' of Japanese Constitution". 
  37. ^ Sudworth, John (2007-11-12). "South Korea buys into space dream". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  38. ^ "Boost for South Korea's space program". 
  39. ^ "Turkey’s spy sat to zoom in on Israeli secrets". 
  40. ^ See the Wikipedia links mentioned/used in this sub-section.
  41. ^ Sajjadur Rahman (2009-11-27). "Bangladesh plans to launch satellite". Thedailystar.net. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  42. ^ 返回式卫星 (China's First Atmospheric Reentry Satellite)
  43. ^ Harbin Institute of Technology -> FSW satellite series (Note: the definition of high resolution (ground resolution) < 4.5m)
  44. ^ Beidou navigation system first goes to public, with resolution 0.5m (from official Xinhua News Agency), with photos
  45. ^ 中国首次“一箭三星”发射成功 (China's First One-Rocket-Three-Satellite Launch). Science and Technology Daily
  46. ^ "Solar System Exploration: Missions: By Target: Moon: Past: Hiten". NASA. Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
  47. ^ "JAXA – Data Relay Test Satellite "KODAMA"(DRTS)". JAXA. Retrieved 2009-07-31. 
  48. ^ "World's Fastest Satellite Internet Connection to 45 cm User Terminal Using "KIZUNA" (WINDS)". asia.spaceref.com. 2008-04-21. Retrieved 2009-06-27. 
  49. ^ "Kibo: The Successful Launch and Start of Permanent Manned Space Operations." (PDF). MHI. Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
  50. ^ "MIP detected water on Moon way back in June: ISRO Chairman". The Hindu (Bangalore). September 25, 2009. Retrieved 2013-06-09. 
  51. ^ Bagla, Pallav (September 25, 2009). "Did India beat NASA to find water on moon?". NDTV (Bangalore). Retrieved 2013-06-09. 
  52. ^ "Japan Launches World's First Greenhouse Gas Observing Satellite". ENS. 2009-01-23. Retrieved 2009-06-27. 
  53. ^ "China's space probe flies by asteroid Toutatis". Chinadaily.com.cn.16 December 2012.
  54. ^ "我国孕育新一代运载火箭 20年完成更新换代" (in Chinese). Xinhua News Agency. 2009-06-02. Retrieved 2009-06-28. 
  55. ^ "日の丸有人宇宙船 2030年に初フライト HTV改修で数百億円削減" (in Japanese). MSN Sankei News. 2009-07-11(JST). Retrieved 2009-07-10(UTC).  – The title misprinted 2020 as 2030. There is "2020" in the text.
  56. ^ Jones, Morris. "Reality Check for Indian Astronauts". Space Travel. Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  57. ^ "Hypersonic Flight Experiment "HYFLEX"". JAXA. Retrieved 2009-12-21. 
  58. ^ . РИА Новости. 2009-09-21 http://www.rian.ru/science/20090921/185905786.html. Retrieved 2009-09-21.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  59. ^ "JAXAシンポジウム「ロボットが拓く宇宙開発のNEXT STAGE」レポート 写真26" (in Japanese). Impress Watch. 2007-03-30. Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  60. ^ "Observation of Lunar Rotation by Future Landing Missions" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  61. ^ JAXA Piggyback payload (GOSAT special Site) -
  62. ^ "IGS-Optical 5V". 
  63. ^ "OFEQ 9 - the New Israeli Spy Satellite". 
  64. ^ "KOMPSAT-3 (Korea Multi-Purpose Satellite-3) / Arirang-3". 
  65. ^ "Cartosat-2 Camera Tested". 
  66. ^ "资源一号02C、资源三号卫星在轨测试性能良好" (in Chinese). Retrieved 2013-01-30. 
  67. ^ "Rasad-1: Iran Launches Its Second Satellite". 
  68. ^ "IGS-Radar 3, 4". 
  69. ^ "TECSAR 1 (TechSAR 1, Ofeq 8)". 
  70. ^ "TECSAR 1 Israel". 
  71. ^ "KOMPSat 5 (Arirang 5)". 
  72. ^ "RISAT 1". 
  73. ^ http://carnegieendowment.org/2012/09/20/airpower-at-18-000-indian-air-force-in-kargil-war/dvc4#
  74. ^ "RISAT-1: A Fully Polarimetric C-band SAR Mission of ISRO". 
  75. ^ "HJ-1C". 
  76. ^ "我国首颗SAR卫星环境一号C轨道及SAR参数/HJ-1C" (in Chinese). Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  77. ^ "Insat 4A, 4B". 
  78. ^ "INSAT-4A". 
  79. ^ "NIGCOMSAT 1, 1R". 
  80. ^ "ST-2". 
  81. ^ "ST-2 Satellite details 2011 -022B NORAD 37606". 
  82. ^ "GSat 4 (HealthSat)". 
  83. ^ "SJ 9". 
  84. ^ 泄露“一箭三星”秘密的秘件
  85. ^ ISRO lines up SARAL for February, restored GSLV for April
  86. ^ "> News Headlines > ISRO developed AWS – Agreement signed for production". Indiantelevision.com. 2005-03-19. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  87. ^ JAXA H-I Launch Vehicle
  88. ^ JAXA Engineering Test Satellite II "KIKU-2"(ETS-II)
  89. ^ JAXA Engineering Test Satellite VII "KIKU-7"(ETS-VII)
  90. ^ JAXA Launch Schedule
  91. ^ JAXA Solar Observation TAIYO (SRATS)
  92. ^ "Orbital Launches of 2001". Retrieved 2013-06-01. 
  93. ^ "Orbital Launches of 2002". Retrieved 2013-06-01. 
  94. ^ "Orbital Launches of 2003". Retrieved 2013-06-01. 
  95. ^ "Orbital Launches of 2004". Retrieved 2013-06-01. 
  96. ^ "Orbital Launches of 2005". Retrieved 2013-06-01. 
  97. ^ "Orbital Launches of 2006". Retrieved 2013-01-15. 
  98. ^ "Orbital Launches of 2007". Retrieved 2013-01-15. 
  99. ^ "Orbital Launches of 2008". Retrieved 2013-01-15. 
  100. ^ "Orbital Launches of 2009". Retrieved 2013-01-15. 
  101. ^ "Orbital Launches of 2010". Retrieved 2013-01-15. 
  102. ^ "Orbital Launches of 2011". Retrieved 2013-01-15. 
  103. ^ "Orbital Launches of 2012". Retrieved 2013-01-15. 
  104. ^ "Orbital Launches of 2013". Retrieved 2014-01-05. 
  105. ^ "ISAS news No.154" (PDF) (in Japanese). 
  106. ^ "Lunar exploration satellite "LUNAR-A"". 
  107. ^ "中国自主探测火星还需20年" (in Chinese). 浙江日报. 2009-06-08. Retrieved 2009-06-09. 
  108. ^ "2050年頃に有人火星探査を実施=中国科学院が計画を発表―中国" (in Jananese). Recoed China. 2009-06-10. Retrieved 2009-06-12. 
  109. ^ "UNITEC-1 Site". UNISEC. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 

External links[edit]