Beijing (30/06 – 71.43) The member countries of the BRICS group will start a new space cooperation program this year, Chinese state-run newspaper Global Times reported citing the country’s space agency.
The 14th summit of leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa kicked off on Thursday.
China, which is the bloc’s chair this year, is hosting the summit virtually this week.
The China National Space Administration (CNSA) said the first meeting of the joint commission on space cooperation of the BRICS countries already took place this year, the Global Times reported near midnight Wednesday.
According to the agency, 2022 will be the “year of launch” for cooperation in remote sensing satellite data sharing and joint observation, and a key construction year for BRICS space cooperation.
There is already a joint space observation and information exchange system involving six satellites – two Chinese, two Indian, one Chinese-Brazilian and one Russian – and five ground stations located in Hainan in China, Cuiabá in Brazil, Moscow in Russia, Hyderabad in India and Hartebeesthoek in South Africa, the daily said.
The CSNA said that remote sensing satellite technology is “key” to tackling global challenges in the 21st century, including food crises, water scarcity and climate change.
Space cooperation could enhance solidarity among the BRICS countries, increase the efficiency of satellite observation and realize resource sharing, the agency told the Global Times.
As of January, China had 499 satellites in orbit, Russia had 169, India had 61, Brazil had 13, and South Africa had three, according to CNSA.