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China In Discussions With Belarus To Jointly Develop Earth Observation Satellite

Artist’s impression of the Belarusian BKA Earth observation satellite. Image courtesy of BelTA.

China and Belarus are negotiating the joint development of an Earth observation satellite according to the Deputy Chairman of the Presidium of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus Sergei Kilin.

Speaking with BelTA – the Belarusian news agency – on 28 August 2018, Kilin said, “We regularly discuss possible joint projects of interest to both countries with the Chinese side. The matter is closely monitored by the two sides. Negotiations are underway, including on the joint creation of a space satellite. We cannot disclose the content of the talks for now.”

Kilin’s comments follow the remarks made by the Chairman of the Presidium of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, Vladimir Gusakov, who said that Belarus has invited China to jointly build an Earth observation satellite.

“China has a vast space exploration program. The country has more than one satellite for the remote sensing of Earth and for communication. This is why I have a concrete proposal regarding participation in the construction of our satellite and the fulfillment of research projects once the satellite is operational. A Belarusian-Chinese satellite is possible in the future. We are now designing a new satellite together with Russian scientists. But the satellite after this one or maybe simultaneously with this one may be designed in association with Chinese scientists. It is a broad field for work,” said Gusakov in a separate interview with BelTA.

The comments by Gusakov and Kilin come just after China won a contract to launch a nanosatellite made by students of the Belarusian State University. According to the Belarusian Education Minister, Igor Karpenko, “The satellite will be used for educational purposes. Its data will be sent to labs for various research projects of professors and students.”

Chinese and Belarusian official are discussing the possibility of declaring a Year of Education in Belarus and China. As a part of the Belt and Road Initiative, Belarusian and Chinese universities alone have signed about 350 cooperative agreements, with Belarus especially interested in encouraging universities to advance cooperation in technology and science, to include space sciences and satellite engineering.

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