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Space Plan From China Broadens Challenge to U.S.

中国的太空计划扩大对美国的挑战


BEIJING — Broadening its challenge to the United States, the Chinese government on Thursday announced an ambitious five-year plan for space exploration that would move China closer to becoming a major rival at a time when the American program is in retreat.


北京——中国政府于周四发布了一份雄心勃勃的太空探索五年计划,扩大了对美挑战,当美国太空项目收缩时,该五年计划将有可能让中国一举成为主要敌手。


Coupled with China’s earlier vows to build a space station and put an astronaut on the moon, the plan conjured up memories of the cold-war-era space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. The United States, which has de-emphasized manned spaceflight in recent years, is now dependent on Russia for transporting its astronauts to the International Space Station. Russia, for its part, has suffered an embarrassing string of failed satellite launchings.


与中国早前要建立空间站并让太空人登陆月球的誓言一道,该计划让人联想起美苏在冷战时期的太空竞赛。美国近年来不再强调载人航天,目前正依赖俄罗斯向国际空间站运送宇航员。而俄罗斯本身正遭遇一连串难堪的卫星发射失利。


China has been looking for ways to exert its growing economic strength and to demonstrate that its technological mastery and scientific achievements can approach those of any global power. The plan announced Thursday calls for launching a space lab and collecting samples from the moon, all by 2016, along with a more powerful manned spaceship and space freighters.


中国已在设法运用其不断增长的经济实力,同时向世人展示他们的科学技术能力与成果不亚于任何全球强国。周四宣布的计划要求在2016年前发射一个空间实验室并从月球取样,此外还有更强大的飞船和运载火箭。


In recent years, China has also sought to build a military capacity in keeping with its economic might, expanding its submarine fleet and, this year, testing its first aircraft carrier, a refurbished Soviet model. Under the new space plan, it would vastly expand its version of a Global Positioning System, which would have military as well as civilian uses.


近年来,中国正试图建立一支与其经济实力相称的军事力量,正在扩展潜艇编队,还在今年试验了首艘航母——苏联型号的改装舰。在新计划中,它还将大力扩展军民两用的中国版GPS。


The plan shows how the government intends to draw on military and civilian resources to meet the goals, which the government is betting will also produce benefits for the Chinese economy. “This approach offers lessons for other advanced space powers, including the U.S., which needs to make sure it sustains its high-level investment in various aspects of space development across the board,” said Andrew S. Erickson, a professor at the United States Naval War College who has studied the Chinese space program.


该计划显示了中国政府如何打算从军、民领域吸引资源以达成目标,而这些太空项目又可以反过来为经济服务。研究过中国航天计划的美国海军学院Andrew S. Erickson教授指出:"中国模式给包括美国在內的先进宇航国家上了一课,美国必须在众多航天领域保持高水平的投入。"


While a leader in the business of launching satellites, China is still years behind the United States in space. Its human spaceflight accomplishments to date put it roughly where the United States and the Soviet Union were in the mid-1960s.


虽然中国是卫星发射大户,但在航天上仍远远落后于美国。中国今日的载人航天成就仅相当于美苏在上个世纪六十年代中期的水平。


But China has consistently stuck to a development timeline for its program and met the realistic goals set out in its five-year plans, which are mainstays of the Communist Party’s authoritarian system.


但中国多年来始终紧扣项目时间节点并能够完成务实的五年计划任务——五年计划是中共专制体系的基础。


For human spaceflight, the plan lays out a continuation of China’s steady but unrushed efforts to develop technologies and extend its capacities. It says that China will begin the work to land its astronauts on the moon, but it does not provide a target date for when they will go.


在载人航天方面,新计划要求中国继续稳健地发展科技与提升能力。该计划指出中国将开展太空人登月的工作,但未给出具体时间表。


“I think it is a comprehensive, moderately paced program,” said John M. Logsdon, former director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University. “It’s not a crash program.”


乔治敦大学航天政策中心前主任John M. Logsdon指出:"我认为这是一份稳步的综合性计划,而非激进计划。"


By contrast, NASA’s direction tends to shift with every change of presidency. President George W. Bush called on NASA to return to the moon by 2020. President Obama canceled that program and now wants the agency to send astronauts to an asteroid. NASA shut down its 30-year space shuttle program after a final flight in July.


相比之下,美国宇航局则是一朝天子一朝臣。小布什号召在2020年前重返月球,奥巴马上台后取消了该计划,现在又要求宇航员登陆小行星。今年七月份,航天飞机30年的历史宣告结束。


“The one thing that is admirable about their program is they don’t have fits and starts,” said Joseph R. Fragola, a space safety expert who has visited the space facilities in China. “Their program is low budget but it is laid out, and they follow it in an orderly process, and we don’t do that.”


曾造访过中国航天中心的太空安全专家Joseph R. Fragola指出:"中国计划有一个值得称道的地方:他们不随风起舞,预算虽低但样样列明,他们认真地遵照计划行事,我们则不同。"


Experts say Beijing is approaching its space program the way it did its military modernization. In addition to the aircraft carrier, which it bought from Ukraine, China has also made a progress on an anti-ship ballistic missile, which could be deployed to ward off foreign warships. Last January, the Chinese military tested a stealth fighter hours before Robert M. Gates, the defense secretary at the time, met in Beijing with President Hu Jintao.


专家们指出,中国对待航天项目就象对待军事现代化那样。除了从乌克兰购买的航母之外,中国在威慑外国战舰的反舰弹道导弹方面也取得了进展。今年一月,时任国防部长盖茨与胡主席会谈前几个小时,中国军方试飞了隐形战机。


Unlike in the United States, where there are separate military and civilian space programs, in China the People’s Liberation Army is the driving force behind development of the Chinese space program. Civilian institutions, including various universities and laboratories, are part of the military-led efforts. In the white paper that laid out the plan, released by the State Council, China’s cabinet, the authors took pains to say that Beijing was not seeking to challenge any nation militarily with its space program.


与美国将军事与民用宇航项目分离的作法不同,人民解放军是中国航天背后的推动力量。大学、实验室等地方机构是军方主导的工程的组成部分。在国务院发布的五年航天计划白皮书里,作者们着力强调中国无意在军事上挑战任何国家。


“China always adheres to the use of outer space for peaceful purposes, and opposes weaponization or any arms race in outer space,” the paper said.


书中写道:中国永远奉行和平利用外太空的原则,反对将太空军事化及任何军备竞赛。


Analysts say one of the more notable goals of the five-year strategy is to further develop the Beidou Navigation Satellite System, which on Tuesday began providing navigation, positioning and timing data on China and surrounding areas. The white paper said China intended to have a global system by 2020, with 35 satellites in orbit. If it met that goal, China would join Russia in having a system that tries to rival America’s. China has already launched 10 satellites for the Beidou system, and plans to launch six more next year.


分析家们指出五年计划中较为突出的一部分为北斗卫星导航系统,周二,北斗系统开始向中国及周边地区提供导航、定位、授时服务。白皮书称,中国计划在2020年前建立一个拥有35颗在轨卫星的全球系统。如果中国完成此计划,它将与俄罗斯一道挑战美国的GPS。中国目前已发射了10颗北斗卫星,明年还将发射6颗。


Beidou is not as advanced as its American counterpart, but it is expected to overshadow the Russian system and would provide the Chinese military with an alternative to relying on a civilian version of the American network. Beidou would also be used for civilian purposes, like providing drivers with a navigation tool.


北斗虽不如GPS先进,但将超过俄罗斯的系统,而且中国军队将摆脱对GPS民用版的依赖。北斗也可用于驾车等民用目的。


“This has major commercial implications, it has major security implications,” Mr. Erickson said. “To be a great military and space power, it’s important to have one’s own satellite navigation system.”


美国海军学院Erickson教授称:"北斗具有重大的商业和安全意义,要成为军事与太空强国,拥有自己的卫星导航系统十分重要。"


The white paper, which follows similar reports released in 2000 and 2006, also said China would develop new Long March launch vehicles to deliver heavier payloads into orbit. It will also work on improving conditions for human spaceflight.


这份继2000年和2006年之后的白皮书同时指出中国将发展新型长征运载火箭,以便将更大的载荷送入轨道。中国还将改进载人航天的环境。


To lay that groundwork, the paper said, China “will launch space laboratories, manned spaceship and space freighters; make breakthroughs in and master space station key technologies, including astronauts’ medium-term stay, regenerative life support and propellant refueling; conduct space applications to a certain extent and make technological preparations for the construction of space stations.”


白皮书指出,为打下基础,中国将"发射空间实验室、有人宇宙飞船和货运飞船。突破并掌握空间站关键技术,包括太空人的中期逗留、生命支持系统、推进剂加注等。在一定规模上进行空间应用,为建设空间站作准备。"


On deep-space exploration, the paper said China planned to launch orbiters that would make soft lunar landings and do roving and surveying. After that, the paper said, China will collect samples of the moon’s surface and bring them back for analysis.


在深空探测方面,白皮书称中国计划发射可在月面软着陆的航天器,实现在月面行走、测绘;在将之后完成取样并送返地球研究。


The paper also said China planned to carry out a comprehensive plan for upgrading its satellite technology and widening the uses of its satellites.


白皮书还称中国将对卫星技术进行升级并扩大卫星的运用。


“In aggregate, this is clearly going to propel China even further into space to a significant degree,” Mr. Erickson said. “There’s relentless progress across the board.”


Erickson称:"总之,中国将在太空迈出一大步,中国航天在各方面进展迅猛。"


In 2003, China became the third country to send a human into space, behind the United States and the Soviet Union, when it put Yang Liwei into orbit around the earth. It launched a lunar probe in 2007 that orbited the moon and took pictures, and the next year completed its first spacewalk when Zhai Zhigang remained for 13 minutes outside the Shenzhou 7 spacecraft.


2003年,中国将杨利伟送入轨道,成为继美苏之后第三个将宇航员送入太空的国家。2007年,中国发射了一个绕月卫星并获取月面图片。2008年神舟七号,翟志刚出舱达13分钟,实现首次太空行走。


China’s Long March 5 rocket, currently under development, would be able to lift about 25 tons to low-earth orbit, comparable to the United States’ Delta IV Heavy rocket and much smaller than the Saturn V rocket that launched the Apollo spacecraft to the moon four decades ago. But that would be enough for China to get to the moon by launching its lunar spacecraft in pieces and assembling it in the earth’s orbit.


中国目前在研制长征五号火箭,将有能力将25吨的载荷送入地球低轨道,与美国Delta IV重型火箭相当,但远小于四十年前将阿波罗号送往月球的土星五号火箭。但长五足以让中国分块发射并在低轨道组装登月飞船。



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