Yang Changfeng: Giving full play to systemic advantages of pooling national resources and strengths and boosting Beidou development

By Yang Changfeng Updated: 2022-07-08 en.cppcc.gov.cn


Yang Changfeng is a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and chief designer of the Beidou Navigation Satellite System. [Photo/cppcc.gov.cn]

I am Yang Changfeng, a member of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and of the 300,000-strong Beidou family. In 1994, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) decided to develop the Beidou navigation system. For nearly 30 years, Beidou has always supported the development of the country and insisted on independent innovation and development. Especially since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, the development of the Beidou system has increasingly highlighted Chinese wisdom, demonstrated Chinese advantages, and inherited the Chinese spirit, becoming a model of China's major modernization and innovation projects. I would like to share my ideas from three perspectives.

First, Beidou reflects Chinese wisdom.

At the beginning of the system's development, there were already other satellite navigation systems providing services in the world. We knew that it would not work to blindly follow them and, fundamentally, we had to take into account our national conditions and strengths, plan scientifically, design innovatively, and advance steadily. After extensive research, Beidou has followed a "three-step" development strategy with Chinese characteristics - test first, then regional application, and then global use. We have made use of a hybrid constellation consisting of satellites in three kinds of orbits, a world first, and given priority to domestic services even while expanding to the world, with assurance of better service capability in key regions, thus providing a Chinese solution for the world's navigation system. Although starting late, Beidou has taken only 20 years to equal the development path of other global systems over a span of over 40 years. In particular, since the 18th CPC National Congress, it took just two and a half years to improve the network with 30 satellites launched in 18 missions, with a success rate of 100 percent, setting a new world record. It is worth mentioning that Beidou has established a systematic quality control model and a robust risk control system. Since the first satellite was launched in 2000, all four test satellites and 55 satellites were successfully launched into orbit, an overwhelming success that demonstrates Chinese quality to the world. Beidou has now become a world-class satellite navigation system.

Second, Beidou demonstrates China's advantages.

The management of the Beidou project has comprehensively promoted the modernization of our governance system and capacity.

Based on an engineering management framework centered on pioneering scientists, we have established a new type of matrix organization structure that consists of "two chains of command + chief designer system + expert and consulting agencies + technical support agencies," and built eight sub-centers for quality reliability, international cooperation and other endeavors. This pro-innovation structure, with a small core group and a big auxiliary support network, demonstrates the efficiency of China's science and technology governance system. Efforts were also made to break down traditional boundaries among teams, give full play to the advantages of the new system of pooling national resources and strengths, and introduce various outstanding resources to support Beidou’s development. We have made a bold move to form a mechanism of benign competition, supported by multifront efforts, and built an engineering organization model featuring two main players and several fixed research institutes responsible for satellite platforms, demonstrating the strong competitiveness of China's advantages. Efforts have been made to innovatively integrate industry, universities, research and application, and to organize more than 20 key enterprises in China to jointly participate in or bid for the research and development of fundamental chips for Beidou application purposes. This has led to the rise of more than 100 enterprises and the formation of a full-fledged industrial chain that covers chips, cards, terminals and application services. Efforts have been made to carry out collaborative demonstration projects together with ministries and commissions under the State Council as well as provinces and municipalities, and coordinate planning and funding contribution, opening up a new horizon for the development of the Beidou industry.

Third, Beidou inherits the spirit of China.

Great causes breed great spirits, which go on to guide great causes. During the decades of development, several generations of Beidou researchers have forged ahead and nurtured the Beidou spirit of "independent innovation, open integration, unity, and pursuit of excellence" in the new era. Independent innovation is the core value of the Beidou project. Open integration represents the global outlook of Beidou, and unity is a concrete manifestation of the advantages of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics in pooling strength for major undertakings. The pursuit of excellence embodies Beidou's commitment to be top-class.

The Beidou spirit is the inheritance of the spirit of "Two Bombs and One Satellite" in the new era and a vivid reflection of Chinese spirit in the aerospace sector. In 2021, the Beidou spirit became one of the first values recognized in the array of inspiring principles for Chinese Communists. Led by the Beidou spirit in the new era, we will uphold the concept of "enjoying the beauty of others and creating beauty everywhere," continue to promote Beidou to serve the world and benefit mankind, and make innovative and solid efforts to steadily advance Beidou's "go global" campaign. Beidou, as a magnificent modern technology project, belongs to China and the world. It's a top-class system that enjoys support of the people.  

At present, the large-scale application of Beidou has entered a critical phase of market-based operation, industrialization, and international development. Standing at a new starting point, all parties need to focus on the gaps and weaknesses to promote and guarantee the navigation system's development in accordance with the rule of law, and promote its progress with a higher-quality environment and a higher level of national strategic scientific and technological resources so as to further demonstrate China's power.

"Forge ahead in the new era and make greater contributions on a new journey." Let us closely rally around the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core, march toward the second centenary goal, make vigorous and determined endeavors to fulfill our responsibility toward history, prove worthy of our times and live up to people's expectations, and achieve new strides for the Party and the people.

(The author is a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and chief designer of the Beidou Navigation Satellite System. The article is translated from Chinese to English by en.cppcc.gov.cn.)

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