China Academy of Space Technology (CAST)

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Last Updated: May 1, 2003
Other Name: 中国空间技术研究院; Chinese Academy for Space Technology Research (CASTR); Satellite Academy; Chinese Research Institute of Space Technology; Fifth Academy; Beijing Institute of Space Technology[1]
Location: Haidian District, Beijing, China
Subordinate To: China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC)
Size: Over 10,000 persons, including 1,700 senior specialists[2]
Facility Status: Active

Established 20 February 1968, China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) is China’s main arm for the research, development, and creation of space satellites. Through its subsidiaries, CAST researches satellite system and structural design, satellite hardware and materials, satellite guidance and control, spacecraft retrieval, remote sensing technology, energy and outer space experimentation.[3]

CAST also designs the payload-carrying satellite buses for the Long March family of rockets, including the DFH-4 with a carrying capacity of 595kg, and is developing the DFH-5 with a projected carrying capacity of 1,360kg.[4]

As of December 2008, CAST has been involved in the creation and placement of over 100 spacecraft.[5] CAST has extensive international experience and shipped its first exported spacecraft in 2007.[6] Countries involved with CAST’s commercial activities number more than a dozen and include Brazil, France and Russia.[7]

CAST’s past proliferation activities have concerned the U.S. government. Notably, CAST, under the Chinese Ministry of Aerospace Industry, helped provide missile technology for the nation of Pakistan. The United States government sanctioned the organization on 24 August 1993, in violation of the Arms Control Export Control Act and the Export Administration Act. This sanction was waived as of 1 November 1994.[8] Additionally, in 1998 CAST was implicated in the illegal purchase of U.S. dual-use missile circuitry made by Harris Semiconductor by the Chinese firm Means Come.[9] The Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control describes hardware developed by CAST as “useful for developing missile-related electronics.”[10]

CAST has multiple subsidiaries, including:[11]

  • The 501st Research Institute, also known as the Fifth Design Department, conducts satellite research and design, as well as systems integration.
  • The 502nd Research Institute, also known as the Beijing Institute of Control Engineering (BICE), conducts research and design for spacecraft control and guidance systems.
  • The 503rd Research Institute, also known as the Beijing Institute of Satellite Information Engineering, conducts research and design for ground-based spacecraft location and telemetry.
  • The 504th Research Institute, also known as the Xian Institute of Space Radio Technology, conducts research and design for spacecraft communications and remote sensing.
  • The 508th Research Institute, also known as the Beijing Institute of Space Mechanics and Electronics, conducts research and design for spacecraft sensor arrays.
  • The 510th Research Institute, also known as the Lanzhou Institute of Physics, conducts research of general space environment.
  • The 511th Research Institute conducts and studies simulation exercises.
  • The 512th Research Institute administratively organizes CAST records.
  • The 513th Research Institute conducts research and design for spacecraft communications.
  • The 514th Research Institute conducts measurement and standardization for CAST.
  • The 515th and Research Institute conducts research and design for spacecraft communications arrays.
  • The 518th Research Institute conducts research and design for ground-based spacecraft systems.
  • The 529 Factory is CAST’s satellite manufacturing plant.
  • The Dongfanghong Satellite Company and its subsidiary Space Star Technology Company are the commercial sectors of CAST.

Sources:
[1] “Chinese Academy of Space Technology,” Jane’s Space Systems and Industry, 27 April 2010.
[2] “A Brief of CAST,” China Academy of Space Technology, www.cast.cn.
[3] “Research Felds,” China Academy of Space Technology, www.cast.cn.
[4] Bradley Perrett, “CAST Plans Big Satellite Bus Matched to Long March 5,” Aerospace Daily & Defense Report, Vol. 236, 4 November 2010, p. 4.
[5] Mark A. Stokes and Dean Cheng, “China’s Evolving Space Capabilities: Implications for U.S. Interests,” Prepared for: the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, Project 2049 Institute, 26 April 2012.
[6] “A Brief of CAST,” China Academy of Space Technology, www.cast.cn.
[7] “A Brief of CAST,” China Academy of Space Technology, www.cast.cn.
[8] “Waiver of Missile Technology Proliferation Sanctions on Foreign Persons,” United States Department of State, Federal Register 59, Number 214, FR Doc No: 94-27470, 7 November 1994.
[9] Bill Gertz, “Beijing Illegally Bought Circuits; U.S. Technology Used in Missiles,” The Washington Times, 24 May 2001, p. A1.
[10] “Section I, Part B – U.S. Equipment Approved for Chinese Nuclear, Missile or Military Sites,” in U.S. Exports to China 1988-1998: Fueling Proliferation, Wisconsin Project, 1999.
[11] Mark Stokes, “China’s Evolving Conventional Strategic Strike Capability: The Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile & Beyond,” Project 2049 Institute, 14 September 2009, pp. 79-83.

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