BEIJING, June 26 (Xinhua) -- China welcomed a newcomer to its Long March carrier rocket family on Saturday as the new generation Long March-7 blasted off successfully. It brings China one step closer to its goal of operating a permanent space station.
As China ventures deeper into space, the country has not wavered in the key principles that govern its space missions -- namely, peaceful development in space exploration.
China has taken an active part in international space cooperation and been willing to provide platforms for countries and regions to use outer space peacefully.
Currently, the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), independently developed and operated by China, provides open services to the Asia-Pacific region free of charge.
China's Chang'e-4 lunar probe, which is scheduled to land on the moon in 2018, is expected to carry three scientific payloads, developed by the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany. The cooperation aims to help engineers and scientists from different countries conduct joint research and share scientific data.
In addition, China has offered high-resolution imagery of the Ecuador quake zone, captured by satellite Gaofen-2, to aid relief work following the deadly earthquake in April upon request from Ecuador's government.
Long March carrier rockets have sent 49 satellites into pre-set orbit in 43 missions for 22 countries, regions and international satellite organizations, according to the latest data released by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technologies.
China is willing to provide space products and services to more countries and regions, especially developing countries, on the basis of equality, mutual benefit, and peaceful use.
Scientists with China's manned space program have repeatedly expressed willingness to cooperate internationally, and foreign astronauts are expected aboard China's space station.
China's first astronaut, Yang Liwei, said earlier this year that payload has been reserved for international projects and foreign astronauts on the Chinese space station, which is due to enter service around 2022.
Upon request, China will also train astronauts for other countries, and jointly train astronauts with the European space station, Yang said.
Progress in aerospace technology has greatly benefited ordinary people and boosted development of multiple industries.
Each dollar that goes to space programs could generate 7 to 12 dollars in economic returns, according to assessments made by U.S. and European research institutions.
Satellite communication technology alone has greatly transformed daily life through telephone, data transmission, and emergency rescue services as well as providing platforms for distance learning and medical treatment.
China will complete construction of national civilian space infrastructure around 2025. It will include satellite remote sensing, satellite communication and broadcasting, satellite navigation and positioning.
China is a latecomer in space development compared with the United States and Russia, but the country is no less ambitious in contributing to the peaceful development of outer space.
The future of space exploration lies in international cooperation, rather than fierce competition. Cooperation in the global arena will help the development of mankind. Enditem