Practical Information about Beijing and China
Travel to Beijing
If travelling to China, your passport must be valid for at least six months after the duration of your intended stay and you must also be able to provide evidence of a return or onward ticket. A visa is required for all travellers to China whether for tourism, business, employment or study purposes. You should ensure that you obtain the appropriate visa for the purpose of your visit. It is very difficult to obtain a visa at Chinese border entry points.
If your passport is lost or stolen while in China, you will firstly need to obtain an official loss report from the local police (this report can be used when checking in to a hotel and will be necessary for obtaining a new passport and Chinese visa). You will need to obtain a replacement passport from your nearest embassy or consulate, as well as a Chinese visa to allow you to leave China. Issue of a visa by the Chinese authorities can take up to five working days, and can be delayed significantly longer during Chinese holiday periods. We encourage you to keep a copy of your passport and Chinese visa in a safe place when travelling in China.
Chinese authorities strictly enforce penalties for entry and exit visa violations. Current regulations include a 500RMB fine (not to exceed 5,000RMB) for each day overstayed, and/or detention. The period of detention can range from 5 to 30 days depending on the severity of the violation.
We recommend that travellers ensure they depart China before their visa expiry date.
Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.
Climate & Clothing
September in Beijing presents cool mornings and evenings. From late September, the temperature differences between day and night get wider, with average high and low temperatures reaching 26C (79F) and 15C (59F), respectively.
If you are arriving in early September, summer clothing will suffice. If you plan to come later in the month, bring both short and long-sleeved clothing, and prepare a light coat for the morning and evening chill.
If possible, bring some cold medication as temperatures between day and night differ substantially, making it easier to catch cold. Beijing goes back to its dry conditions in autumn, so drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. Try to avoid crowds at the end of the month before Chinese National Day.
Do not board illegal taxis or tour buses in Beijing! All registered taxis in Beijing have a plaque number that begins with “B” and are equipped with a light on top of the vehicle, as well as a meter inside.
It is better to hail a taxi from the road than to enter a taxi that has been waiting somewhere. An empty taxi must show a red light in the front window.
In Beijing, there are 17 subway lines in operation with a total mileage of 442 kilometres (about 275 miles) in the city. To attract more passengers and relieve traffic pressure, a subway ride costs only CNY @ regardless of distance and transfers, which is the cheapest amongst all of China’s urban rail systems. Due to frequent traffic jams, especially during rush hours, the subway is probably the most time-saving transport means in the city.
More information on routes and timetables:
There are over 20,000 city buses servicing more than 700 routes in Beijing. Compared with subways, buses cover more areas of the city, and even some far suburban areas such as Badaling and Mutianyu Great Wall. To make bus travel easier, the local government has built bus lanes and opened express bus lines.
More information on routes and timetables:
Top Tourist Attractions
Ringed by a 52m-wide moat at the very heart of Beijing, the fantastically named Forbidden City is China's largest and best-preserved complex of ancient buildings. So called because it was off limits for 500 years, when it was steeped in stultifying ritual and Byzantine regal protocol, the otherworldly palace was the reclusive home to two dynasties of imperial rule until the Republic demoted the last Qing emperor to has-been.
798 Art District
A disused and converted electronics factory built by the East Germans, 798 Art District is Beijing’s leading concentration of contemporary art galleries. The industrial complex celebrates its proletarian roots in the communist heyday of the 1950s via retouched red Maoist slogans decorating gallery interiors and statues of burly, lantern-jawed workers. The voluminous factory workshops are ideally suited to art galleries that require space for multimedia installations and other ambitious projects. You could easily spend a day visiting the complex and its cafes and restaurants, making 798’s noncentral inaccessibility less of an inconvenience and more of an opportunity for an outing.
Once a playground for the imperial court fleeing the suffocating summer torpor of the Forbidden City, the palace grounds, temples, gardens, pavilions, lakes, bridges, gate-towers and corridors of the Summer Palace are a marvel of landscaping. Unlike the overpowering flatland of the Forbidden City or the considered harmonies of the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace – with its huge lake, hilltop views and energising walks – offers a pastoral escape into the landscapes of traditional Chinese painting.
Mutianyu (Great Wall of China)
Famed for its Ming-era guard towers and excellent views, the 3 km-long section of wall at Mutianyu, northeast of Beijing in Huairou County, is largely a recently restored Ming dynasty structure that was built upon an earlier Northern Qi dynasty edifice. US President Bill Clinton came here (Reagan went to Badaling), if that’s anything to go by.
Flanked by stern 1950s Soviet-style buildings and ringed by white perimeter fences, the world's largest public square (440,000 square metres) is an immense flatland of paving stones at the heart of Beijing.
In the square, one stands in the symbolic centre of the Chinese universe. The rectangular arrangement, flanked by halls to both east and west, to some extent echoes the layout of the Forbidden City: as such, the square employs a conventional plan that pays obeisance to traditional Chinese culture, but many of its ornaments and buildings are Soviet-inspired. Mao conceived the square to project the enormity of the Communist Party, so it's all a bit Kim Il-Sungish. During the Cultural Revolution, the Chairman, wearing a Red Guard armband, reviewed parades of up to a million people here.
For more sights in Beijing, visit Lonely Planet:
Safety & Security
Tourist Scams in Beijing
There are a number of common scams running in China and travellers should exercise common sense and caution when approached by strangers. Below are some common examples of scams operating around Beijing and throughout China.
The Scam: You’ve just walked out of the airport terminal and a taxi driver walks up to you and offers to take you into town for a special price – they are probably unregistered taxi drivers, meaning they are a private driver. They often charge ¥400 - ¥500 or more for a trip that should only cost around ¥100.
These illegal taxis are also often parked at major tourist destinations.
How to avoid: Only take registered taxis – These can be identified by their licence place, which should have “京B …”. DO NOT get into a taxi unless you see the B.
A registered taxi VS unregistered taxi – note the ”京B…”
Always make sure the driver uses the metre. If they claim that it is broken, get out and find another taxi. Flag taxis down at official taxi ranks or down on the street – do not approach parked taxis.
Ask your hotel staff to give an estimate of fare and write the price on a piece of paper together with the destination to show the driver.
Tea House Scam
The Scam: You’ll be approached by people on the street, usually young girls who claim to be students. After some casual banter, they will suggest that you go to a tea house that they enjoy visiting. In short, you will be misled about pricing and will ultimately receive a large and unreasonable bill.
How to avoid: Say you don’t drink tea and suggest going to a nearby café instead (e.g. Starbucks). If they insist on a certain place, walk away.
The Art Gallery Scam
The Scam: You will be approached by people on the street who often claim to be students. They will tell you about their art exhibition, and ask if you want to see their paintings. Once inside their ‘gallery’, you will be ‘pressured’ into purchasing overpriced art.
How to avoid it: Tell them you’re in a rush or that you’re not interested in art.
The Scam: There have been a few reports of this happening near the Forbidden City, Beijing. A rickshaw driver may offer you a short ride to a nearby attraction for a small sum – e.g. ¥3. They will take you down a quiet alley and the driver will claim that they actually meant ¥300. Reports say that the driver may become physically aggressive when you refuse to pay.
How to avoid it: Rickshaws in Beijing operate purely for tourists – they are not a form of transportation for locals. If you want to ride a rickshaw, find one in an area where they are common. Also be wary of very low prices: anything below ¥10 is unrealistic. If you do get caught up in the scam, try to stand your ground: shout and show that you are not intimidated. Alternatively, run!
The KTV Scam
The Scam: You’ll be approached by people on the street who often claim to be students. They will instigate conversation and outline that they are interested in learning about your culture and hope to practise their English. They will invite you to join them to a KTV (Karaoke) Bar. In short, you will be hit with a large and unreasonable bill and potentially hassled by unruly security guards if you refuse to pay.
How to avoid it: Outline that you’re not interested in KTV or that you are unwell and unable to sing, drink and/or dance… Also be aware that you need not be lured into this trap – many tourists walk straight into KTV Bars and get hit with this scam!
The Bar Tab Scam
The Scam: Many bars in touristic areas will have a special menu in English that has much higher prices than the Chinese menu.
How to avoid: Do not order until you are clear on the costs. Keep track of what you have ordered and carefully check the tab before paying.
Fake Helpers at the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong
The Scam: An official-looking figure will approach you as you queue to enter Mao’s tomb. They will tell you that you cannot take your bags in (which is true), and then take you to a nearby locker where you can store your gear. They may also tell you that you are not allowed to wear shoes into the tomb – this is not necessarily true.
How to avoid: Leave your gear at the official locker room before queuing, this should be around ¥10. Dress appropriately and avoid flip flops, singles and tank tops. Politely ignore any officials wearing light-blue uniform attempting to lure you to separate lockers.
The Chinese Medicine Scam
The Scam: Cheap, unofficial tour groups may take you to traditional Chinese medicine clinics where you will be offered ‘free’ foot washes, consultations and examinations. At the end of your faux consultation, you will be issued a list of ailments and matching shopping list of necessary medicine (actually weeds, twigs and grass) to cure you and restore you health.
How to avoid: Avoid unofficial tours – these are generally people who will approach you on the streets and ask if you are interested in going anywhere in particular. If you find yourself at a fake consultation, do not buy anything and emphasise that you will not be able to take the plant-matter home due to customs.
Currency & Banking
The official currency in China is the Renminbi (RMB) or “People’s Currency”.
The basic unit is “yuan” (元), also known as “kuai” (块), which equals ten “jiao” (角), also known as “mao” (毛), which is then divided into ten “fen” (分).
1 yuan (kuai) = 10 jiao (mao) = 100 fen
Paper currency comes in 1, 2, 5, 10, 50 and 100 yuan notes.
Paper “jiao” come in denominations of 1, 2 and 5. There are also 1 and 2 “fen” notes, but these are rarely used.
Coins come in 1 fen, 2 fen, 5 fen, 1 jiao, 5 jiao and 1 yuan.
Major credits such as MasterCard, Visa and American Express can be used to purchase goods in large department stores. Credit cards cannot be used in small restaurants or small convenience stores.
The Chinese Government is working hard against counterfeit money. It is still important to be aware of this.
Ways to identify counterfeit money are by colour, watermark, paper quality and braille dots. The true colour of RMB notes is difficult to emulate, and counterfeit bills are often unclear or fuzzy – the images are not sharp. The watermark on counterfeit money is also unclear. The best way to test paper is under black light. Finally, each denomination of yuan notes has a corresponding number in braille in the lower left hand corner of the front side. It may be difficult to notice, but the dots are slightly embossed on the surface of the paper.
Customs & Taxes
The Chinese Customs Administration requires that travellers carrying over US$6,000 (or equivalent in foreign currencies) in cash must declare it upon arrival in China. The declaration should be kept safely and shown to customs officials upon departure. Travellers who wish to depart China carrying between US$6,000 and US$10,000 (or equivalent in foreign currencies) should obtain permission from a Chinese bank to do so.
Shopping & Business Hours
Government Offices in Beijing are generally open on Monday to Friday, from 08.00 to 17.00, with a lunch break of about one hour in between. Companies’ offices are also generally open from Monday to Friday, 09.00 to 18.00.
Most scenic areas in Beijing sell entrance tickets from 08.00 to 16.00. Some are much earlier, such as Temple of Heaven, Beihai Park and Summer Palace.
Shops are generally open 7 days a week from 09.00 and close between 19.00 to 21.00. Offices are usually closed on public holidays, including News Year’s Day, Chinese Lunar New Year, Labour Day and National Day (1 October – 7 days off).
Throughout the city of Beijing, there are many indoor markets that are bursting with clothes, electrical items and souvenirs. For tourists, these are hotspots for buying clothes and gifts. Prices can be cheaper however you need to be prepared to fight for them with some haggling. NEVER accept the first price they give you!
For some handy tips, check out this YouTube video:
International calls can be made directly from hotel rooms with IDD phones. Simply dial the international prefix 00, country code, area code and number. Some large post offices also provide this service. Otherwise, search for roadside kiosis with the IDD sign.
Magnetic phone cards and IC phone cards for IDD calls are available in major telecommunications offices and large hotels. China phone cards are specially issued to offer domestic long-distance and international call services in any direct-dial phone around the city.
Make sure your handset is 900/1800 dual-band compatible and unlocked.
The two major companies to consider are China Mobile and China Unicom. China Mobile is said to be best for coverage all over China. If you will only be in Beijing, this may not be important, but if you are touring China, then a China Mobile SIM may be the best choice.
SIM cards are readily available at Beijing International Airport, department stores, bookstores, post offices, tobacco stores, convenience stores and some street kiosks. Pre-paid SIM cards are sold for 50 RMB and 100 RMB.
When purchasing a SIM card, simply ask the salesperson for a “SIM ka” whilst pointing to your mobile phone. You will generally be shown a list of numbers to choose from.
To set up your SIM card, simply follow the instructions provided in the leaflet. If you can’t read or write Chinese, you can request the salesperson to insert the card for you and make sure that it is working, or you can ask a SGC Local Organising Team member for assistance.
Drinkable tap water is only available at a few of the best hotels – tourists should always make sure with staff before drinking. Flasks of hot and cold boiled water in rooms are signs of non-drinkable tap water.
Bottled mineral water is inexpensive and widely available in all stores and street kiosks. Sometimes, bottled water may be freely provided by the hotel.
Most hotels have access to a medical practitioner. They can also assist guests with purchasing medication or, if necessary, going to the hospital. Below is a list of a few local hospitals and clinics that cater to foreigners:
- Beijing United Family Hospital
2 Jiangtai Road, Chaoyang District
- Sino-Japanese Friendship Hospital
Ying Hua Dong Lu, He Ping Li
Tel: 86-10-6422 2965; 86-10-6422 1122
- Peking Union Medical College Hospital
Shuaifuyuan, Wangfujing, Dongcheng District
Tel: 6529 5284
24-hour emergency: 6529 5269
- Hong Kong International Medical Clinic, Bejing
2 Chaoyangmenwai, Dongcheng District
Tel: 6553 2288
The official language of China is Mandarin Chinese. Most hotel staff can speak English, but communication may be difficult on the street.
When travelling by taxi, ask someone to write down the address of your destination in Chinese and be sure to carry your hotel card for your trip home. Street signs have Chinese characters as well as Pinyin (Romanised Chinese).
When addressing somebody, please remember that in China, the surname comes before the first name.
How are you?
nǐ hǎo ma
What’s your name?
nǐ jiào shénme míngzi
Can you speak English?
nǐ huì shuō yīngyǔ ma?
多少钱？ / 几块？
duōshǎo qián? / jǐ kuài
手机智能卡 / SIM 卡
shǒujī zhìnéngkǎ / SIM kǎ
Běijīng Hángkōng Hángtiān Dàxué /
Běi Háng Dàxué
China National Convention Centre
Guójiā huìyì zhōngxīn
Hello, I would like to go to Beihang University. The address is:
37 Xueyuan Road, Haidian District, Beijing
For an outline on how to pronounce Chinese (Mandarin) words, please check out:
SGAC at the IAC
The Space Generation Advisory Council Booth at the International Astronautical Congress
Stop by the SGAC booth at the Exhibition Hall of the International Astronautical Congress.
Look for the Booth Number B15, stop by and just introduce yourself to one of our members there!
What will I find there?
Apart of all specific information about the organisation, including flyers and reports, you will find a group of fun and great young professionals and students with whom you can share your ideas and projects!
Specific Events at the SGAC Booth or during the IAC
25/09/2013, 4 to 6pm - Space Foundation and SGAC New Gen Reception - This is the annual New Gen reception at the SGAC booth, this year kindly sponsored by the Space Foundation. Come to our booth and enjoy some drinks and food while you network with other professionals in the space sector!
26/09/2013, 11am to 1pm - Near Earth Objects event at the Global Networking Forum - Participate in this unique event the NEO Project Group is organising at the Global Networking Event, get ready for the impact!
The Space Generation Closing Gala Dinner
The Space Generation Closing Gala Dinner
The unique and exclusive SGC Closing Gala Dinner opens its door to all space community this year.
This fundraising event will be the culmination of the three days of hard work done at the 12th Space Generation Congress by the delegates, with NASA Administrator, Charles Bolden, as the main feature speaker of the night. The event is free to all SGC delegates.
Young professionals, students and current space leaders can network, share impressions and enjoy a nice and cultural evening with delicious local chinese food. The guests will also enjoy chinese perfomances during the dinner, as well as will hear a speech from this year Feature Speaker, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.
|SGC 2012 Gala Dinner, with Head of DLR as Feature Speaker|
How can I attend as guest? I do not want to miss this great event!
The gala dinner is a fundraising event to collect funds for the Space Generation Advisory Council. You can now buy your seat or table. It is a win-win situation for all of us!
- If you are a young professional or student - 50€/seat*
- If you are a space professional - 100€/seat*
- If you want to have a table (10 seats) fully sponsored by your organisation - 800€/table*
(note: the Gala dinner is of course included if you are attending the Space Generation Congress 2013 as participant!)
Young Professional or Student
This unique international and multicultural networking event will allow you to meet other young professionals and students in the space sector from all around the world. But not only that, current space leaders will share this evening with all of you. This is your chance to have dinner with space agency directors, big space organisations CEO's and other current space leaders... and who knows, perhaps a future job?
This exclusive dinner will allow you to network with the future space leaders, giving you the opportunity to better understand the future that will lead the current space sector that you are right now shaping. Get the chance to meet the future leaders of your organisation, or perhaps your direct future competence!
A complete table will be booked with the logo of your company for your employees, and you will be able to select who of our young professionals and students will share this evening with you. Get the top of the best future space leaders sitting next to you!
SGC Closing Gala Dinner Details
This exclusive dinner will be held at the Grand Mansion Restaurant in Beijing, on the Saturday 21st September at 7.15pm.
Official website of the restaurant: http://www.bjdzm.com/en/store_6.asp
Address of the Grand Mansion restaurant
In Chinese: 北京市海淀区西翠路11号
In English: 11 Xi Cui Lu Hai Dian Qu, Beijing, China
*All donations are US Tax deductible, if you wish so, please ask us for an invoice, and we will provide it to you as soon as possible
The 12th Annual
Space Generation Congress
The Global Space Congress for University Students and Young Professionals Interested in Today's Key Space Issues
Follow all updates on the NEWS Section, Twitter and Facebook
Deadline for submissions:
26 July, 2013
DEADLINE EXTENDED until 8 August!
**Applications CLOSED NOW**
NOTE: Read all necessary information about SGC 2013 in the "For Participants" section, right side of this site.
In partnership with
The Space Generation 2013 Highlights - Video shown at the SGC Gala Dinner in Beijing
Are you part of it? Video with images of previous SGCs
Check out our youtube channel for videos from SGC 2011 www.youtube.com/spacegeneration
"The Role of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS)
and Earth Observation in Disaster Management" Workshop
22 September 2013, 9:00am-16:00pm
19 - 21 September, 2013
SPONSORS of SGAC 2013
Please note: SGAC does not assume any liability for attendees' safety during any part of SGC or associated events. Participation in SGC is entirely at the participants' own risk.
Space Generation Congress 2013 Suggested Accommodation
If you have been accepted to attend the Space Generation Congress 2013, and/or the International Astronautical Congress, SGAC has lined up some very good rates for all our SGAC delegates. If you wish to stay in the recommended hotel, please let us know by sending an email to the SGC 2013 organising staff Delegate Team, and we will give you guidance on how to proceed with the bookings to get these fantastic rates*!
Space Generation Congress Accommodation
The Beihang Training Center, located inside the Beihang University Campus has good accommodation conditions and graceful indoor environment, with individual bathrooms, 24 hours' hot water, air-conditioners, televisions and networks. It is in the BUAA campus and very close to the natatorium, restaurant and university hospital. Breakfast is provided each morning.
Special Rates for SGAC members:
|Room Type||Cost per person (RMB) per day|
|Twin Room (single gender only)||140|
|Single Room||Double Room||Suite 1||Suite 2|
Beihang Training Center Address:
37 Xueyuan Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100083, China
Accommodation during the International Astronautical Congress
If you are staying at the IAC, SGAC recommends our delegates to stay at the same hotel.. The IAC venue is not very close to the Beihang Campus, but neither very far. Public transport is very convenient, and sharing a taxi will be extremely cheap and will not take you longer than 15minutes point to point.
*Note: This offer it is only for SGAC members that have been accepted to attend the Space Generation Congress 2013.
SGC 2013 Working Session Topics
One of the primary components of the Space Generation Congress is the working group sessions. Each delegate is assigned into one of five groups. The groups in the break-out sessions discuss a pertinent space topic in one of the five themes: Industry, Agency, Society, Exploration, and Earth Observation. Subject matter experts from the field will join these working groups to support them with knowledge to make the group discussions more fruitful. The preliminary conclusions of each group are presented to the rest of the delegates on the last afternoon of SGC and the final conclusions are written into reports that are presented at the International Astronautical Congress, the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, and other conferences around the world in the year following the Congress. For last year's report, please see here.
Delegates will be asked to choose one of the topics after being accepted to attend the Space Generation Congress.
Space Generation Congress 2013 Topics
Industry – Space Industry in the Era of Globalisation
Industry has to quickly adapt to the actual economical situation and the clear decrease of budgets, while keeping and/or increasing both competitiveness and cooperation. Competitiveness and smaller budgets put big space equipment providers under pressure, and trigger the appearance of more small/medium size companies, especially in developing countries.
Industry plays an important role in a globalised world, acting as mediator to bridge the gap between space fairing nations and developing countries. The potential of these relationships can be relevant for strengthening ties between countries on political or economic levels.
The SGC working group could discuss:
- Effects of the financial crisis on the space sector.
- How to increase competitiveness while increasing cooperation between different players at the same time?
- The current role of the largest space equipment providers in contrast with the roles of small/medium start-up companies.
- The age gap, roles and opportunities for young professionals in the space industry.
The SGC working group would make recommendations on:
- How national industries can benefit from a more globalised approach.
- Strategies to deal with the actual economical situation, standardization of products together with the role of new start-ups companies.
- The role of young professionals within the space industry: knowledge transfer to bridge the age gap.
- Interdisciplinary and small/medium sized companies as means to reach, educate and prepare a new generation of STEM students.
Agency – Space Communications in our Daily Life
Sponsored by NASA SCaN
Space applications have become a huge part of humanity, in particular those related to communications, although individuals may not always realise it. Often there are stories about a communications satellite which has been partially or completely disabled as a result of a solar flare or a collision with another satellite, but a small group in the world understand the repercussions of these events.
Now that the economic and national security is increasingly tied to space-based assets, what would a day without space communication mean? Unfortunately, those outside of the space sector are often unfamiliar with the essential role space and space technology plays in their society. They do not realise how much citizens depend on space communication and this lack of awareness leads towards lack of support to space activities from the public.
The SGC Agency working group could discuss:
- How a would day without space communication be?
- What are the most popular benefits of space communications that may not be perceived as products of the space age?
- How to inform the public regarding the importance of space communication?
- What steps can be taken to develop a successful outreach model of how space communication improves our lives?
The SGC Agency working group could make recommendations on:
- How to foster awareness to the general public of the importance of space communication to their daily lives
- Which type of outreach plan (some ideas: formal and informal communication, education) can be used to make the public, policy makers and companies more aware
Society – Near Earth Objects, Impact in Society
Sponsored by Secure World Foundation
The "Society Working Group" will discuss mainly the ways that states can efficiently inform their population in case of threat of a NEO, and how current media can help (or not) for this purposes. The working group will base its discussion following the paper submitted by Secure World Foundation titles "Crafting an effective communications plan for an international response to a threatening Near Earth Object". The paper asks and answers three questions that address this topic:
- What are effective tools to empower audiences with a tangible outreach and education plan, one that fosters accurate and timely information about the possible effects of a potentially hazardous NEO and what actionable steps can the IAWN take to assure its effectiveness?
- How best to inform the public regarding NEOs and any Earth-threatening object in a way to avoid misinformation?
- What steps can be taken to develop an outreach and education plan, one that offers accurate and timely information about the possible effects of a potentially hazardous NEO?
The Society Working Group would make recommendations to answer the "Call to Action" posted in the referenced paper to help the IAWN on its mission on:
- How an Effective NEO Communication Plan looks like
- How a coordinated program of education targeting general public, policymakers, students and media should be implemented
- How to identify skilled communicators supported by risk analysts, planners, scientists, psychologists, emergency management experts and other functional experts.
- How to access to research data and real-time NEO information SGAC would like to thank tremendously Secure World Foundation for their continuous support and trust throughout the years
Exploration – Exploitation of Space Resources: Legal and Political Implications
In recent years, three new private commercial ventures, Planetary Resources Inc. (PRI), Deep Space Industries (DSI) and Excalibur Almaz (EA) announced plans to extract and use resources from asteroids. Besides the technological difficulties of accomplishing this ambitious feat, there are potential legal and political challenges to consider.
It is currently a matter of debate whether or not the plans of PRI, DSI and EA are legal according to international space law. Although nations cannot claim property rights in space, it is unclear if private ownership is allowed within the Outer Space Treaty.
The SGC working group could review and discuss:
- Roughly define the milestones of technical concepts of proposed mission profiles and identify legal requirements and challenges that need to be considered for a feasible mission.
- Current articles in the Outer Space Treaty, Moon Treaty and international agreements applicable to the issue of private ownership or exploitation of space resources.
- The international agreements or guidelines required to guarantee safe and successful operations of these new ventures.
- Given current and developing technologies, what are the challenges of exploiting resources in orbit and identify challenges need to be addressed
- The potential and the scope of international cooperation and the associated legal and political implications.
The SGC working group would make recommendations on:
- How to update current space law to allow for the successful existence and operations of asteroid mining ventures
- How to foster international cooperation whilst overcoming potential legal and political implications
- Recommendations for mission profiles avoiding current challenges, both technical and legal
Earth Observation – Earth Observation for Sustainable Development
Supported by the local partner
The "Earth Observation Working Group" will mainly discuss challenges and possible solutions of earth observation for sustainable development in developing countries. In this context, the term "development" is not specifically focussing on technology but entails the development of countries including economic growth and poverty reduction. There are still many challenges for developing countries to efficiently take advantage of Earth Observation (EO) data.
The working group could have a general exchange of views and discuss:
- The main challenges faced by developing countries when applying Earth Observation technologies from various perspectives, such as capacity building, lack of funding, institutional problems and challenges of accessing expensive data
- Potential solutions and strategies for each of the mentioned challenges
- Successful programmes in emerging space countries
The working group would give recommendations on:
- How to institutionalise the use of EO in developing countries
- Potential programmes such as global or regional cooperation initiatives for earth observation satellite constellations, capacity development or data sharing. • Potential justifications for the utilisation of donor funds for development aid
In alphabetical order:
Maj. Gen. Charles Frank Bolden, Jr., (USMC-Ret.) was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the 12th Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. He began his duties as head of the agency on July 17, 2009. As Administrator, Bolden leads a nationwide NASA team to advance the missions and goals of the U.S. space program.
At NASA, Bolden has overseen the safe transition from 30 years of space shuttle missions to a new era of exploration focused on full utilization of the International Space Station and space and aeronautics technology development. He has led the agency in developing a Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft that will carry astronauts to deep space destinations, such as an asteroid and Mars. He also established a new Space Technology Mission Directorate to develop cutting-edge technologies for the missions of tomorrow. During Bolden's tenure, the agency's support of commercial space transportation systems for reaching low-Earth orbit have enabled successful commercial cargo resupply of the space station and significant progress toward returning the capability for American companies to launch astronauts from American soil by 2017. Bolden has also supported NASA's contributions toward development of developing cleaner, faster, and quieter airplanes. The agency's dynamic science activities under Bolden include an unprecedented landing on Mars with the Curiosity rover, launch of a spacecraft to Jupiter, enhancing the nation's fleet of Earth-observing satellites, and continued progress toward the 2018 launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope.
Bolden's 34-year career with the Marine Corps also included 14 years as a member of NASA's Astronaut Office. After joining the office in 1980, he traveled to orbit four times aboard the space shuttle between 1986 and 1994, commanding two of the missions and piloting two others. His flights included deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope and the first joint U.S.-Russian shuttle mission, which featured a cosmonaut as a member of his crew.
Prior to his nomination as NASA administrator, Bolden was Chief Executive Officer of JACKandPANTHER LLC, a small business enterprise providing leadership, military, and aerospace consulting, as well as motivational speaking.
Born Aug. 19, 1946, in Columbia, S.C., Bolden graduated from C. A. Johnson High School in 1964 and received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical science in 1968 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. After completing flight training in 1970, he became a Naval Aviator. Bolden flew more than 100 combat missions in North and South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, while stationed in Namphong, Thailand between 1972 - 1973.
Bolden earned a Master of Science degree in systems management from the University of Southern California in 1977. In 1978, he was assigned to the Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Md., and completed his training in 1979. While working at the Naval Air Test Center's Systems Engineering and Strike Aircraft Test Directorates, he tested a variety of ground attack aircraft until his selection as an astronaut candidate in 1980.
Bolden's NASA astronaut career included technical assignments as the Astronaut Office Safety Officer; Technical Assistant to the Director of Flight Crew Operations; Special Assistant to the Director of the Johnson Space Center in Houston; Chief of the Safety Division at Johnson (where he oversaw efforts to return the shuttle to flight safely after the 1986 Challenger accident); lead astronaut for vehicle test and checkout at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida; and Assistant Deputy Administrator at NASA Headquarters. After his final shuttle flight in 1994, he left NASA and returned to active duty with Marine Corps operating forces as the Deputy Commandant of Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy.
In 1997, Bolden was assigned as the Deputy Commanding General of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force in the Pacific. During the first half of 1998, he served as Commanding General of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Forward in support of Operation Desert Thunder in Kuwait. He was promoted to his final rank of major general in July 1998 and named Deputy Commander of U.S. forces in Japan. He later served as the Commanding General of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, Calif., from 2000 - 2002. He retired from the Marine Corps in 2003. Bolden's many military decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in May 2006.
Bolden is married to the former Alexis (Jackie) Walker of Columbia, S.C. The couple has two children -- Anthony Chè, a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps, who is married to the former Penelope McDougal of Sydney, Australia, and Kelly Michelle, a plastic surgeon at the Howard University Hospital in Washington.
Chairman, United Nations Committee on the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN COPUOS)
Technical Counselor, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
Yasushi HorikawaDr. Horikawa is a technical counselor of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in Tokyo, Japan. He earned his PhD from Tokyo University in Electrical Engineering. He worked for many years in the field of spacecraft design. He contributed to the successful implementation of Japanese meteorological satellite programs and Earth observation programs, as well as the development of the International Space Station program. Dr. Horikawa also contributed to the implementation of the Japanese International Space Station program as the Program Manager. Subsequently, Dr. Horikawa was responsible for all satellite application programs as an Executive Director of JAXA. This included the operation of satellites for many diverse uses including Earth observation, global positioning, communications and broadcasting. Today, he continues as an advisor for Japanese satellite application development and utilization programmes. Additionally, Dr. Horikawa is a professor at Tokai University and is the president of the Japanese Society of Cost Estimate and Analysis since 2011. In June 2012, Dr. Horikawa began a two year term as the Chairman of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN COPUOS).
Senior Advisor, NASA
Kathy Laurini is a senior advisor within NASA HQ’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate where she is a leader in the development and implementation of strategies and plans for international partnerships in space exploration. She also supports International Space Station (ISS) Program efforts to use the ISS to prepare for exploration.
Since 2005, Ms. Laurini has been involved in NASA’s human space exploration effort, including roles as Program Manager for the Human Research Program and Project Manager for the Altair human lunar lander project, a key element of the Constellation Program. Prior to this, she held leadership positions within the International Space Station Program, including positions within system engineering, payload integration and on-orbit operations management. She started her career at the Johnson Space Center as a Space Shuttle flight controller.
Executive Director, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Dr. Sandra H. “Sandy” Magnus is the Executive Director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the world’s largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession, with more than 35,000 individual members in 79 countries.
Born and raised in Belleville, Ill., Dr. Magnus attended the Missouri University of Science and Technology, graduating in 1986 with a degree in physics and in 1990 with a master’s degree in electrical engineering. She also holds a Ph.D. from the School of Materials Science and Engineering at Georgia Tech (1996).
Selected to the NASA Astronaut Corps in April, 1996, Dr. Magnus flew in space on the STS-112 shuttle mission in 2002, and on the final shuttle flight, STS-135, in 2011. In addition, she flew to the International Space Station on STS-126 in November 2008, served as flight engineer and science officer on Expedition 18, and returned home on STS-119 after four and a half months on board. Following her assignment on Station, she served at NASA Headquarters in the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. Her last duty at NASA, after STS-135, was as the deputy chief of the Astronaut Office.
While at NASA, Dr. Magnus worked extensively with the international community, including the European Space Agency (ESA) and the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA), as well as with Brazil on facility-type payloads. She also spent time in Russia developing and integrating operational products and procedures for the International Space Station. Before joining NASA, Dr. Magnus worked for McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Company from 1986 to 1991, as a stealth engineer. While at McDonnell Douglas, she worked on internal research and development and on the Navy’s A-12 Attack Aircraft program, studying the effectiveness of radar signature reduction techniques.
Dr. Magnus has received numerous awards, including the NASA Space Flight Medal, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, and the 40 at 40 Award (given to former collegiate women athletes to recognize the impact of Title IX).
Romanian Association for Space Technology and Industry
Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu works for the Romanian Space Agency as an expert within the Romanian Association for Space Technology and Industry - ROMSPACE.
In May 1981 Prunariu accomplished an 8 days space flight on board Soyuz-40 spacecraft and Saliut-6 space station.
Prunariu is one of the founding members of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE). Since 2010 Prunariu serves as president of ASE Europe, and since 2011 of whole ASE. Since 2005 he is also a member of the ASE Committee on Near Earth Objects (NEO).
Prunariu performed as the chairman of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN COPUOS) elected for the period of June 2010-June 2012.
Since 1995 Prunariu is also acting as the Vice-President of the European Institute for Risk, Security and Communication Management (EURISC) from Bucharest. Since 1998 until 2004 Prunariu was the President of the Romanian Space Agency. Starting with 2004, he was for almost two years the itinerary Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Romania to the Russian Federation. Prunariu is a full member of the International Academy of Astronautics, and from 2011 an Honorary Member of the Romanian Academy. In 2012 he was appointed as one of the 15 experts of the Group of Governmental Experts on outer space transparency and confidence-building measures (TCBM), established by the UN General Assembly Resolution 65/68.
Prunariu is a co-author of several books regarding space technology and space flight and has presented/published numerous scientific papers. He earned a degree in aerospace engineering from the University POLITEHNICA of Bucharest and a Ph.D. in the field of space flight dynamics.
Chief Executive Officer, Space Foundation
Named chief executive officer of the Space Foundation in 2001, Elliot Pulham leads a premier team of space and education professionals providing services to educators and students, government officials, news media and the space industry around the world. He is widely quoted by national, international and trade media in their coverage of space activities and space-related issues. Before joining the Space Foundation, he was senior manager of public relations, employee communication and advertising for all space programs of Boeing, serving as spokesperson at the Kennedy Space Center for the Magellan, Galileo and Ulysses interplanetary missions, among others. He is a recipient of the coveted Silver Anvil Award from the Public Relations Society of America - the profession's highest honor. In 2003, the Rotary National Awards for Space Achievement Foundation presented him with the coveted Space Communicator Award, an honor he shares with the late legendary CBS News Anchor Walter Cronkite and former CNN News Anchor Miles O'Brien. Pulham is chairman of the Hawaii Aerospace Advisory Committee, a former Air Force Civic Leader and advisor to the Chief of Staff and Secretary of the Air Force and a recipient of the U.S. Air Force Distinguished Public Service Medal. He serves on the editorial board of New Space Journal.
Michael K. Simpson
Executive Director, Secure World Foundation
Dr. Michael K. Simpson is the Executive Director of Secure World Foundation, after joining SWF as the Senior Program Officer in September 2011 following seven and a half years as President of the International Space University (ISU). Simpson holds a post as Professor of Space Policy and International Law at ISU. He is a corresponding member of the International Academy of Astronautics. After 23 years of service, Simpson retired from the Naval Reserve in 1993 with the rank of Commander.
He is the author of numerous scholarly papers, presentations, articles and book contributions and his practical experience includes service as a Political Military Action Officer, observer representative to the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, and member of the Association of Space Explorers International Panel on Asteroid Threat Mitigation. He currently serves on the Commercial Spaceflight Safety Committee of the IAF.
Director of UNOOSA
President Tauri Group