China to conduct asteroid deflection test around 2025

(ORDO NEWS) — China intends to change the orbit of a potentially dangerous asteroid by testing a kinetic striker as part of plans to create a planetary defense system.

China is developing a planetary defense plan and will carry out technical research and study on the development of systems to counter threats from near-Earth asteroids, Wu Yanhua, deputy director of China National Space Administration (CNSA), said in an interview with China Central Television (CCTV).

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

Finally, the mission will make careful observations of a selected potentially dangerous asteroid, and then it will collide with the object to change its orbit.

The mission is scheduled for the end of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) or 2026, Wu said.

Wu said this system will help to cope with the threat of near-Earth objects to humanity and will make a new contribution to the development of China in the future.

Wu spoke at the 7th National Space Day event in Wenchang, Hainan province. April 24 marks the anniversary of the launch of China’s first satellite, Dongfanghong-1, which was sent into orbit in 1970.

A white paper on space released in January said that China will examine plans to build a defense system for near-Earth objects, as well as increase the ability to monitor, catalog, early warning and respond to near-Earth objects in the period 2021-2025.

In October 2021, China held its first Planetary Defense Conference, which featured sessions, papers and presentations on a range of topics.

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

NASA launched the Double Asteroid Redirect Test (DART) mission in November 2021. The spacecraft will collide with Dimorphos, the moon orbiting near-Earth asteroid Didymos, this September.

The European Space Agency will send its Hera mission to Didymos and Dimorphos later this decade to study the impact of the DART mission collision.

China is also developing a combined asteroid sample return and comet rendezvous mission. The mission, expected to launch before 2025, will target the Kamoalev Earth quasi-satellite and bring samples back to Earth and then travel to rendezvous with main-belt comet 311P/PANSTARRS.

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