The high-speed railway linking Beijing to Shanghai, which will open later this month, is safe and reliable and the reduction in operating speed is to maximize efficiency, rail authorities said.Hu Yadong, vice-minister of railways, told a news conference that all systems are go for the line’s opening.The Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway is a landmark project. “Its technology is advanced, its quality reliable and safety guaranteed. It is completely ready for operation and will open in late June,” Hu said.
China opened its tourism market wider and gave licenses to three joint travel services to organize Chinese tour groups overseas. The National Tourism Administration of China on May 23 gave the licenses to TUI China Travel Co Ltd, CITS American Express Travel Services Ltd, and JTB New Century International Tours Co Ltd.
China’s women astronauts may fly to space as soon as the latter half of next year, said a senior official in charge of the manned space program. Yang Liwei, deputy director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office, said that following the country’s first unmanned rendezvous and docking mission between the space module Tiangong-1 and an unmanned spacecraft Shenzhou VIII later this year, two more Shenzhou spacecraft will blast off next year to improve the rendezvous and docking technologies.
Authorities in charge of the manned space program unveiled plans on April 25 to build a 60-ton space station, made up of three capsules, and develop a cargo spaceship to transport supplies. The China Manned Space Engineering Office said at a news conference that it also wants the public to get involved by suggesting names for the space station, due to completed around 2020. According to documents provided by the office, the space station, weighing about 60 tons, is composed of a core module and two others where experiments will be conducted.
Low-altitude airspace will be opened for private flights in five to 10 years but industry insiders are reluctant to predict how many will be taking advantage of it, although they agree numbers will shoot up. “You should just let your imagination soar,” said Zhang Hongbiao, director of the science and technology committee of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China, the country’s major aircraft maker.
China successfully launched its eighth Beidou (Compass) navigation satellite, ensuring the basic system for its indigenous satellite navigation and positioning network is in place. Beidou is being developed to rival the United States-developed GPS, the European Union’s Galileo and Russia’s Global Navigation Satellite System, and is aimed at allowing travelers, drivers and military officials to accurately know their locations.
China plans to invest 1.5 trillion yuan ($228.2 billion) in the aviation industry, building 45 airports and adding 700 new commercial planes, over the next five years to meet surging demand, a top regulator said. The figure is half a trillion yuan more than that for the previous five years, Li Jiaxiang, head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), told a news conference on Feb 24. By 2015, the country is expected to have 220 commercial airports and its fleet size will expand to more than 4,500 planes, according to Li.
A five-year scientific research program to prepare Chinese astronauts for long-term missions in space has been approved and will begin later this year, Director of the Astronaut Center of China Chen Shanguang said. The program aims to establish astronauts’ operational and decision-making abilities in space, along with any psychological and physical changes they undergo living in cramped compartments in weightless conditions, Chen told China Daily on Monday.