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Can you provide a summary of current space-related research and capabilities in China?
The Defense Systems Information Analysis Center (DSIAC) was asked to investigate China’s satellite industry. Key questions addressed include the current number of Chinese satellites in Earth orbit, the technical specifications of China’s military and civilian satellites, China’s satellite manufacturing capabilities, major organizations involved in China’s satellite production, and the Chinese government’s funding and development priorities for its satellite industry. DSIAC staff addressed these questions by consulting leading industry experts and their previous work on the topic. Notable sources included the Union of Concerned Scientists Satellite Database, Henk Smid’s “An Analysis of Chinese Remote Sensing Satellites” for The Space Review, Josh Baughman’s “China’s Satellite Super Factories and US National Security” for the Military Cyber Professionals Association, and numerous Chinese primary sources gathered from previous work by BluePath Labs. The report found that China had 541 satellites in orbit as of May 2022. Of these, 137 were confirmed to belong to the People’s Liberation Army. Most of China’s satellites are for Earth observation or providing navigation services, although China likely has a number of early warning satellites as well. China’s satellite production primarily comes from large state-owned enterprises; however, China is also funding private enterprises to establish modern production facilities.
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