China to conduct asteroid deflection test around 2025

HELSINKI — China will try to alter the orbit of a potentially threatening asteroid with a kinetic impact test as part of plans for a planetary defense system.

China is drafting a planetary defense plan and will carry out technical studies and research on developing systems to counter threats posed by near-Earth asteroids, Wu Yanhua, deputy director of the China National Space Administration (CNSA), said China Central Television (CCTV).

At the same time, the CNSA will establish an early warning system and develop software to simulate operations against near-Earth objects and test and verify basic procedures.

Finally, a mission will make close-up observations of a selected potentially dangerous asteroid and then impact the target to alter its orbit.

The mission is scheduled for the end of the 14th five-year plan period (2021-2025) or in 2026, Wu said.

The system would help deal with the near-Earth object threat to humanity and make a new contribution to China in the future, according to Wu.

Wu made the remarks at an event to mark China’s seventh National Space Day in Wenchang, Hainan province. April 24 marks the anniversary of the launch of China’s first satellite, Dongfanghong-1, which went into orbit in 1970.

In a “white paper” space published in January it was stated that China will study plans to build a near-Earth object defense system and increase near-Earth object monitoring, cataloging, early warning and response capabilities during the 2021-2025 period.

Porcelain held its first Planetary Defense Conference in October 2021, with sessions, papers, and presentations on a variety of related topics.

China is not the only or the first space agency to develop planetary defense capabilities.

POT thrown out its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) in November 2021. The spacecraft will collide with Dimorphos, a minor planet moon orbiting the near-Earth asteroid Didymos, in September this year.

The European Space Agency will send its Hera mission to Didymos and Dimorphos later in the decade to examine the secondary effects of the DART mission’s impact.

China is also developing a combined system asteroid sample return and the comet rendezvous mission. The mission, expected to launch before 2025, will target Earth’s quasi-satellite Kamoʻoalewa, deliver samples to Earth, and then head on a rendezvous with main-belt comet 311P/PANSTARRS.

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