Chinese space scientists are planning to develop several satellites in the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-20), according to senior researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
"We have started preliminary research on four space-based scientific projects - the Solar Wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer, Water Cycle Observation Satellite, Einstein Probe and as the Magnetosphere, Ionosphere and Thermosphere Program," said Gong Jiancun, deputy director of the academy's National Space Science Center.
"Our center is submitting these projects to the government for review and approval," he added, noting that the Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope developed by the academy will be sent into space before the end of this year to explore black holes and the rules of physics in extreme environments.
He made the remarks on Monday before the launch of the country's first quantum experiment satellite, the third science satellite the Chinese Academy of Sciences has sent skyward since December, when it lifted the nation's first science satellite, the Dark Matter Particle Explorer Satellite.
Wu Ji, director of the National Space Science Center, previously told People's Daily that scientists at the center are urging the government to allocate more funds and to adopt favorable policies for science satellite projects.
"NASA in the United States spends about $5 billion every year to develop science satellites, and the European Space Agency spends 2 to 3 billion euros ($2.3 to 3.4 billion) on science satellite programs annually," he was quoted as saying.
"By comparison, China had no science satellite until the end of last year."
He suggested the government include science satellite projects in the National Key Science and Technology Program for long-term planning and receive stable financial support, the report said.