PolyU’s pride - Realising the Nation’s space dreams with top aerospace scientists
China’s achievements in space exploration have caught the world’s attention, demonstrating its strength in scientific and technological innovation, while bringing glory to its people. As the only tertiary institution in Hong Kong with international space exploration experience, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University was honoured to welcome China’s top astronautical scientists who spearheaded the Nation’s key space programmes from manned missions to the Moon and Mars explorations.
The delegation came to Hong Kong for a series of celebratory events on Space Technology, of which PolyU was a co-organiser. They were warmly welcomed by PolyU Council Chairman Dr Lam Tai-fai and President Professor Jin-Guang Teng, together with Mr Alfred Sit Wing-hang, Secretary for Innovation and Technology of the Hong Kong SAR Government; and Professor Jiang Jianxiang, Director-General of the Department of Educational, Scientific and Technological Affairs of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong SAR.
Led by Professor Zhao Xiaojin, Senior Vice President of the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), the delegation included:
˗ Professor Qi Faren, the first chief designer of the Shenzhou spacecraft;
˗ Mr Long Lehao, chief designer of the Long March series rockets;
˗ Mr Hu Hao, chief designer of the third phase of China's lunar exploration project of the China National Space Administration;
˗ Mr Xie Jun, chief designer of the third generation BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS-3);
˗ Mr Sun Zezhou, the Tianwen-1 Mars probe’s chief designer; and
˗ Ms Zhang He, executive director of the Chang’e-4 lunar probe project.
The delegation gave its first public lecture in Hong Kong at PolyU on 23 June, followed by a series of lectures and school visits, reaching out to local youth with inspiring talks about the Nation’s astronautical programme.
PolyU staff and students also took part in an exclusive dialogue with the scientists and their young Mainland counterparts.
A highlight of the visit was the “Centennial Exhibition on Chinese Scientists and Lunar Soil Sample”, held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from 26 June to 9 July 2021. The University was thrilled that a lunar soil sample, collected by the Chang’e-5 spacecraft last year using a space tool designed and manufactured by PolyU, was unveiled for the first time in Hong Kong.
Officiating at the inauguration of the Exhibition, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR Government Mrs Carrie Lam said: “Hong Kong people have a particular attachment to the Chang’e lunar exploration programme… PolyU’s research team collaborated with CAST in the development of the ‘Surface Sampling and Packing System’ for the Chang’e-5 and -6 missions... I am proud of local tertiary institutions’ contributions to the Nation’s space programmes.”
The events showcased how the city can play a major role in the Nation’s drive for scientific and technological innovation, as well as reflecting Hong Kong citizens’ pride in the Nation’s space achievements.
I am proud of local tertiary institutions’ contributions to the Nation’s space programmes.
- Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR Government
Mrs Carrie Lam
A Warm Welcome to the National Delegation of Space Technology Experts
The delegation was led by Prof. Zhao Xiaojin (centre), and representatives included Prof. Qi Faren (left) and Mr Hu Hao (right).
From left: Mr Wang Yajun, Mr Alfred Sit Wing-hang, Prof. Qi Faren, Prof. Zhao Xiaojin, Dr Lam Tai-fai, Mr Long Lehao, Prof. Jiang Jianxiang and Prof. Jin-Guang Teng
Distinguished Chinese Scientists Public Lectures at PolyU
PolyU is the only Hong Kong institution involved in China’s astronautical projects. We welcome PolyU’s researchers to participate even more, and to contribute to the Nation’s endeavours to become a space power.
~ Prof. Qi Faren, the first chief designer of the Shenzhou spacecraft
Centennial Exhibition on Chinese Scientists and Lunar Soil Sample
Chief Executive Mrs Carrie Lam (front, third from left) viewed the “Surface Sampling and Packing System” for collecting lunar soil by Chang’e-5, developed by the PolyU research team, led by Prof. Yung Kai-leung (front, fourth from left), Chair Professor of Precision Engineering and Director of the Research Centre for Deep Space Explorations.
The Chief Executive was accompanied by PolyU’s President Emeritus Prof. Poon Chung-kwong (front, first from left); Dr Lam Tai-fai (front, second from left), Chairman of Council; President Prof. Jin-Guang Teng (back, fourth from right); Prof. Wing-tak Wong (back, third from right), Deputy President and Provost; and Prof. Wu Bo (back, second from right), Associate Head of Department of Land Surveying and Geo-informatics.
I believe there will be more ‘Hong Kong wisdom’ and ‘Hong Kong solutions’ in the Nation’s drive for innovation.
- Dr Tan Tieniu, Deputy Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong SAR
PolyU takes part in the Nation’s first Mars mission
China landed a spacecraft on Mars for the first time in May 2021 in the Tianwen-1 mission, becoming the second country in the world to land and operate a rover on the Red Planet. PolyU researchers played a vital role in the mission, in collaboration with the China Academy of Space Technology.
Professor Wu Bo, from the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics, and his team identified safe landing sites using advanced topographic mapping and geomorphological analysis technologies.
Meanwhile, Professor Yung Kai-leung, Sir Sze-yuen Chung Professor in Precision Engineering, and Associate Head of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, led a team to develop a sophisticated space instrument, the “Mars Landing Surveillance Camera (Mars Camera)” for capturing images of the planet and monitor the status of the Zhurong Mars rover.
The fact that PolyU was invited to participate in another major national space mission with its scientific research capabilities is a clear demonstration of Hong Kong’s exceptional strength in research and innovation.
- Mr Alfred Sit, Secretary for Innovation and Technology of
the HKSAR Government
Extensive media coverage on PolyU’s participation in China’s space programme, highlighting the collaboration opportunities between Hong Kong and the Mainland in the country’s innovation drive.
PolyU’s milestones in space research
PolyU has international space exploration experience, backed by more than 30 years of deep space research.
Prof. Yung Kai-leung, from the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, together with researchers from the Industrial Centre at PolyU, used the concept of dental forceps to develop the “Space Holinser Forceps System”, which was used by astronauts for precision soldering at the former MIR space station.
PolyU developed the “Mars Rock Corer” for use in the Mars Express Mission.
PolyU signed a collaborative agreement with the Lunar Exploration Programme Centre of China National Space Administration to nurture talent, foster academic exchange and research collaboration.
PolyU developed the “Soil Preparation System” for the Sino-Russian Phobos-Grunt Mission, to collect soil samples from the Martian moon Phoboes.
PolyU research teams were invited by CAST to take part in the Chang’e-3 mission. Prof. Yung Kai-leung’s team jointly developed the “Camera Pointing System” with CAST, while Prof. Wu Bo’s team worked on the topographic 3D mapping model and analysis of the landing site.
PolyU developed the “microsatellite platform and deployment system” with Aerospace Dongfanghong Development Ltd, Shenzhen, for Long March-6’s “20 satellites in one rocket” mission. The instrument was installed in the “Kaituo-1B” microsatellite.
The Nation made history with the first soft landing on the far side of the Moon with the success of the Chang’e-4 mission. PolyU helped select the landing site through topographic and geomorphological characterisation and analysis; and captured images of the Moon using the “Camera Pointing System”
In collaboration with CAST, PolyU developed and manufactured the “Surface Sampling and Packing System” for the Nation’s Chang’e-5 mission, the first lunar sample return mission. The system automatically collected and packed the sample on the lunar surface following the soft landing of the Chang’e-5 probe.
In the Tianwen-1 mission, PolyU developed the “Mars Landing Surveillance Camera” for capturing images of the Red Planet and it identified possible landing sites using topographic mapping and geomorphological analysis technologies.
Future Deep Space Exploration
PolyU has been deeply involved in China’s lunar and Mars missions. To conduct in-depth research into different aspects of aerospace technology, PolyU recently established the Research Centre for Deep Space Explorations. The Centre, which is led by Director Professor Yung Kai-leung, brings together experts from different fields, such as geology, remote sensing, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, and physics, pushing the frontiers of research to achieve high-impact innovation. It will also provide opportunities for Hong Kong’s young people to participate in the Nation’s space endeavours.
President Professor Jin-Guang Teng said: “PolyU will strengthen its support for our science researchers as they strive to participate in the country’s astronautical and related areas of research and development, with the aspiration to contribute to the Nation’s advancement.”
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