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Review Commission Wants Data on Chinese Space Program

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
January 25, 2011
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A taikonaut emerges from China's Shenzhou 7 spacecraft after a successful orbital flight

U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission
Request for Proposals
January 24th, 2011

Period of Proposal Submissions Ends:
5:30 PM, February 9th, 2011

The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (hereafter “the Commission”) invites submission of proposals to provide a one-time unclassified report on the development of the national space program of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and the potential impacts on future U.S. economic and national security.

About Proposals

The Commission solicits proposals from contractors capable of providing a one-time unclassified report on the development of China’s national space program, and the potential impacts on future U.S. economic and national security. Key issues and questions to be addressed by the report are:

1.Identify and assess the major motivating factors behind the PRC government’s investments in the space program. Is it motivated primarily by military concerns? Commercial interests? National pride? Or some combination of these or other factors?

2.Explicate the relationships between civilian government agencies and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in administering the space program. Assess which branches of the PLA have the greatest involvement with the space program, and describe their roles and contributions. Also, to the extent possible, identify and assess the political lines of authority that govern the space program – i.e., which agencies perform which roles, and who is ultimately in charge of the program?

3.Provide a comprehensive overview of the primary institutions involved in supporting the Chinese space program, in terms of research and development, manufacturing, and operations. Provide as well an overview of the facilities used for commercial and military space launches, and provide an assessment regarding the types of launches they could support (i.e., polar, low-earth-orbit, manned, reconnaissance, etc.).

4.Identify the major Chinese companies, business entities, and research institutions – both state-owned, and private – that are involved in China’s military and civil space program, and describe the roles that they play in supporting the program. Identify as well the Chinese government and quasi-official think tanks, policy development organizations, and research institutions that develop and provide analysis and policy support to the PRC’s space program.

5.Identify the major platform development projects within the space program (i.e., developmental rockets, space capsules, a potential space shuttle, etc.), and provide an assessment both of the level of progress in these programs, as well as the prospects for aspirational and/or follow-on space platforms.

6.Provide a comprehensive overview of China’s major missile/rocketry programs, as well of as potential future developmental missile programs. Assess the roles and impacts of these programs in both the commercial realm (satellite launch support services, etc.) and the military realm (development of more advanced long-range offensive missile systems, etc.).

7.Provide a comprehensive overview of China’s major satellite programs, as well as of potential future developmental satellite programs. Identify the roles of these satellite constellations, and assess their likely future impacts in both the commercial realm (communications, navigation, etc.) and the military realm (C4ISR support to developmental weapons systems, etc.).

8.Provide an assessment, based on the best available open source information, of China’s programs for conducting anti-satellite, anti-C4ISR warfare against enemy space systems. Assess the potential threat these systems might pose to U.S. military operations in the Western Pacific region.

9.Examine the identifiable linkages, if any, between China’s national-level science programs, its five-year economic development plans, and the national space program. Also identify, insofar as information is available, the industrial policy supports (industrial subsidies, etc.) offered by the government to entities in the space industry.

10.Identify the major foreign companies that support the development of China’s civil and military space programs. Assess the role of foreign technology transfer in the development of China’s space industry. Identify major joint ventures, and other cooperative production and research and development activities, between Chinese entities and foreign companies that may have benefitted technology development in China’s space sector. Explicate the foreign technologies most sought for acquisition by organizations in the space program, and describe the impacts of export control regulations (U.S., E.U., and Japanese) on the ability of Chinese entities to acquire and/or develop these items.

11.Provide an overview of international cooperative and exchange programs with the PRC that support its space program, and identify all U.S. government cooperative efforts with the PRC on space-related initiatives. This should include, but would not be limited to, an explication and assessment of any and all decisions and actions between the United States and China related to implementation of a November 2009 agreement pertaining to manned space flight programs. Provide analysis and an assessment of both the benefits and potential risks to the United States of U.S. cooperation with China on manned space flight initiatives.

About the Commission

The Commission was established by Congress in 2000 to monitor and report to Congress on the economic and national security dimensions of the United States’ trade and economic ties with the PRC. Further details about the Commission are available on its website at: . The Commission solicits this research pursuant to its Congressional mandate (contained in 22 U.S.C. 7002), which states that “The Commission… shall investigate and report exclusively on…

“ECONOMIC TRANSFERS.—The qualitative and quantitative nature of the transfer of United States production activities to the People’s Republic of China, including the relocation of high technology, manufacturing, and research and development facilities, the impact of such transfers on United States national security, the adequacy of United States export control laws, and the effect of such transfers on United States economic security and employment. …

“REGIONAL ECONOMIC AND SECURITY IMPACTS.—The triangular economic and security relationship among the United States, Taipei, and the People’s Republic of China (including the military modernization and force deployments of the People’s Republic of China aimed at Taipei)…”

Full RFP description

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