China’s Shenzhou-17 Crewed Spacecraft Successfully Liftoff
At 11:14 Beijing time on October 26th, the Shenzhou-17 crewed spacecraft, carrying Chinese astronauts Tang Hongbo, Tang Shengjie and Jiang Xinlin, successfully lifted off, marking another milestone in China’s crewed space program.
The primary objective of this mission is to facilitate a crew rotation with the Shenzhou-16 team and enable a six-month stay aboard China’s Tiangong space station. During their tenure, Chinese astronauts will conduct a range of activities including scientific experiments, extravehicular operations, and routine maintenance tasks.
This launch signifies the 30th flight mission of China’s crewed space endeavor since its autonomous inception, and the 12th manned flight overall. Remarkably, China has maintained an impeccable safety record throughout its crewed space program, with zero astronaut casualties since the maiden voyage of Shenzhou-1 in 1999.
Lin Xiqiang, the spokesperson for China’s crewed space program, emphasized China’s preparedness to invite foreign astronauts for future Chinese space station missions. “We extend a global invitation, welcoming nations and regions dedicated to the peaceful utilization of outer space to collaborate with us and participate in our endeavours aboard the Chinese space station.”
China Establishes New National Data Agency
On October 25th, China officially launched its new National Data Administration agency to oversee the country’s data strategy. The NDA will be led by the National Development and Reform Commission.
The National Data Administration will coordinate data infrastructure development and promote sharing of data resources across government bodies. It will also oversee initiatives to build China’s digital economy and society, taking over some responsibilities from the Cyberspace Administration.
According to the State Council’s reform plan last March, the NDA was proposed to integrate fragmented data and leverage technologies like AI. With exponential growth in data volumes driven by technologies, data resources have become crucial to China’s digital transformation goals. The National Data Administration aims to maximize value from this strategic resource.
China Sends Warships to Saudi Arabia For Jointly Drill As Israel-Palestine Conflict Escalates
On October 25, the joint naval special operations training exercise between China and Saudi Arabia, “Blue Sword-2023,” entered its maritime training phase.
Following a two-week period of comprehensive basic and specialized training, participants from both sides are now embarking on exercises focused on rescue operations, reconnaissance missions, and logistical support. The training curriculum includes a range of courses, such as helicopter fast-roping, tactical group maneuvers, ship-climbing exercises, drone operations, observation device handling, and ship-to-sea firing drills. China has deployed a landing ship equipped with two helicopters to actively participate in this collaborative maritime training endeavour.
Despite Joe Biden’s top aides scrambling on October 8 to reaffirm their commitment to the potential normalization of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel, the “Blue Sword-2023” training commenced on October 9, which is just two days after Saudi Arabia urged Israel to immediately halt the escalation with Palestine.