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Spatial Information Technology Education and Training Service

  • In terms of space information technology education, China has already established a complete education and training system at different levels. In terms of intern...

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In terms of space information technology education, China has already established a complete education and training system at different levels. In terms of international space technology education, Beihang University set up Beihang International  Space Education Center in 2004, and established an overseas postgraduate program for space technology applications in 2006 with the approval of the Office of Academic Degrees Committee at the Ministry of Education. In 2010, Beihang University built a ground receiving station of remote sensing satellite data, an integrated laboratory of remote sensing and geographic information system, and a distance education system, all of which are intended for international education and training in space technology applications. The Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO) Education and Training Center in China was inaugurated in early 2014, and the United Nations Regional Center for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific (China) (RCSSTEAP (China)) was established in November 2014. RCSSTEAP (China) is a regional education platform for the aerospace community. Beihang University, on which RCSSTEAP (China) relies, has established close cooperative relationships with domestic universities, research institutes, and enterprises in all programs, and accumulated rich resources regarding faculty recruitment, thesis guidance for students, program visit, program internship, and student enrollment, providing abundant teaching and practical resources for space information technology education. The center has a ground receiving station of remote sensing satellite data, an integrated laboratory of remote sensing and geographic information system, a demonstration hall for BeiDou satellite navigation system applications, a microsatellite laboratory, distance education and video conferencing rooms, and other space technology application laboratories. The center has set up off-campus engineering practice bases in more than 10 companies. The center has trained more than 700 overseas students from nearly 90 countries, and nearly 1,000 people have taken part in short-term training in space technology applications.

In terms of online education and training platforms, China started later to develop distance education platforms than foreign countries. In 1998, the Ministry of Education proposed in the Action Plan for Education Rejuvenation for the 21st Century that the "modern distance education engineering" should be implemented to form an open education network and build a lifelong learning system. In March 1999, the pilot program for online higher education was formally launched. Four universities, namely, Tsinghua University, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, Zhejiang University, and Hunan University, participated in the first pilot program. At present, modern distance education has extended its reach into all walks of life, rural areas, communities, remote areas, and ethnic minority areas throughout the country, promoting the popularization and informatization of higher education, as an important form for developing online, diversified, lifelong and open continuing education in China. In the wake of the rise of MOOC in 2012, Chinese universities joined the wave of launching large-scale open online courses. In May 2013, Tsinghua University and Peking University formally joined edX, an American online education platform. In July of the same year, Fudan University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University signed with Coursera. In 2014, a development team based on the School of Computer Science and Engineering at Beihang University developed Beihang Academy  which currently provides more than ten online courses. Given the development of online education, China needs to strengthen (1) the formulation of policies and regulations on and capital investment in distance education, as well as national attention and government support; (2) the flexibility of curriculum setting and the strict regulation of quality assurance systems; and (3) the digitization and standardization of learning resources, as well as the protection of update, transaction, sharing, and intellectual property rights of learning resources.

Goals

1. Short-term goals

To investigate the status quo of space technology applications and the demand for talents in key countries (regions) along the "Belt and Road," and to make a series of research reports, based on which targeted education and training programs and training models can be established;

To expand the hardware and software training facilities of RCSSTEAP (China);

To establish a cyberspace information technology education and training platform by relying on RCSSTEAP (China);

To promote the construction of the Demonstration Base (Shanghai) for Space Information Technology Educational Practice; and

To build MOOC classrooms for at least 5 professional core courses in all directions.

2. Medium-term goals

To further improve the space technology education and training teaching system, to complete the construction of the center's hardware and software conditions, and to fully realize the online teaching building of professional courses in all directions; and

To complete the construction of the Demonstration Base for Space Information Technology Educational Practice, and to start trial operation by establishing an operating mechanism that allows domestic new recruited college students majored in aerospace to study and receive training at the demonstration base.

3. Long-term goals

To fully support the education and training of local talents required for the construction and application engineering of the Belt and Road Space Information Corridor; and

To meet the needs of space technology education at various levels, and to build the world-renowned first-class space technology education and training center.

Technical Feasibility Analysis

In terms of international space cooperation and technical training and education, the existing representative international organizations in China include the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO) established in 2008, the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER) Beijing Office established in 2012, and the United Nations Regional Center for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific (China) (RCSSTEAP (China)) officially established on November 17, 2014 at Beihang University.

RCSSTEAP (China) is a regional education platform for the aerospace community. Beihang University, on which RCSSTEAP (China) relies, has started to conduct international space education with the support of the China National Space Administration since 2000. Beihang University has established close cooperative relationships with domestic universities, research institutes, and enterprises in all programs, and accumulated rich resources regarding faculty recruitment, thesis guidance for students, program visit, program internship, and student enrollment, providing abundant teaching and practical resources for space information technology education. The center has a ground receiving station of remote sensing satellite data, an integrated laboratory of remote sensing and geographic information system, a demonstration hall for BeiDou satellite navigation system applications, a microsatellite laboratory, distance education and video conferencing rooms, and other space technology application laboratories. The center has set up off-campus engineering practice bases in more than 10 companies. The center has trained more than 700 overseas students from nearly 90 countries, and nearly 1,000 people have taken part in short-term training in space technology applications.

At present, Beihang University has provided dedicated teaching and office space and facilities for the center, which can be used for daily education and teaching activities and center operations. The center can also share Beihang University's teaching, experiment, library and logistics facilities. The center's students can stay in the international student dormitories of Beihang University, and the center's teachers can enjoy the same accommodation conditions as Beihang University's staff. Short-term engaged experts can be accommodated at the Beihang campus and surrounding hotels. As the center's partners, the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth at Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Space Science and Applied Research  Center at Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the China Institute of Space Law can provide the center with teaching equipment and experimental facilities. The China Academy of Space Technology , China Satellite Communications Co., Ltd., and the China Center for Resources Satellite Data and Application also provide teaching and training facilities for the center.

In terms of the training process, the current offline education and training provided by the center are relatively mature, and it only needs to build additional conditions that can provide larger education and training for personnel. Relying on this project, it is necessary to further develop the building of conditions for online space information technology education and training.


Figure  Part of the Existing Education and Training Facilities in RCSSTEAP

According to the discipline characteristics of Beihang University, the center has conducted education in aerospace technology-related fields, and has trained more than 700 overseas students from nearly 90 countries. Nearly 1,000 people have taken part in short-term training in space technology applications. In December 2004, with the approval of the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China, the center introduced the training model of the United Nations Regional Center for Space Science and Technology Education and set up a postgraduate program for "Space Technology Applications." After 9 months of course study, students need to work in thesis design and research based on the practice in their own countries under the guidance of their mentors. They will receive degrees of Beihang University after graduation. The space technology application program recruits teachers from all over the world and has enrolled more than 120 students from 14 countries.

After more than 20 years of exploration and practice, in the field of international education, Beihang University has established a set of practices proven to be effective by relying on superior engineering disciplines, introducing an internationally-acceptable training mechanism, and flexibly customizing training according to the needs of different organizations and the requirements of postgraduate education in China. Beihang University has formed a full-English modular curriculum system featuring "public foundation + professional foundation + subject area." Based on Beihang, it has integrated domestic and international resources to build faculties. It has also established a practical base for industry-university-research cooperation, promoted the thesis research both theoretically and practically, strengthened the whole-process quality assurance, and built an informatization management service system.

As a regional education platform for the entire aerospace community, RCSSTEAP (China) has formed mature and operational standardization programs in all aspects of space information technology education and training. With expanded conditions, RCSSTEAP (China) can directly serve the demand for education and training of talents required for the construction and application engineering of the Belt and Road Space Information Corridor, which is feasible in technical operation.

In respect of the construction of the Demonstration Base for Space Information Technology Educational Practice, the Shanghai Institute of Satellite Engineering (509 Research Institute), as the responsible organization, has successfully developed 14 satellite models, launched 36 satellites, and mastered 9  key technologies in satellite scientific research and production (large- and medium-sized remote sensing satellite system technology, satellite payload subsystem technology, solar array structure and deployment mechanism technology, thermal control system technology, satellite measurement and control subsystem technology, satellite ground integrated test technology, satellite system simulation test technology, and micro-nano satellite system technology). It owns 28 system technologies such as electromagnetic compatibility test technology, reliability test technology, vacuum heat test technology, space environment simulation test technology, and environmental test technology.

Through early investigations, NASA and ESA have already established similar training platforms for educational practice. As China's traditional satellite system design organization engaged in the R&D of multiple models and the cradle of China's meteorological satellites, the 509 Research Institute certainly has the technical strength to establish the Demonstration Base for Space Information Technology Educational Practice.

Basic Information of Organizations

The construction of the Space Information Technology Education and Training Platform was led by Beihang University, in alliance with the Shanghai Institute of Satellite Engineering (509 Research Institute), based on RCSSTEAP (China). The Shanghai Institute of Satellite Engineering is responsible for the construction of the Demonstration Base (Shanghai) for Space Information Technology Educational Practice.

Founded in 1952, Beihang University (Beihang for short) is the first university of aeronautics and astronautics in New China. It is now affiliated with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Beihang has the Xueyuan Road Campus and the Shahe Campus, covering an area of 3,000 mu, with a total floor area of more than 1.5 million square meters. Since its establishment, Beihang has always been listed as a national key construction university. It is one of the first 16 key universities in China, and is also one of the first 22 Chinese universities that establish graduate schools after the restoration of the degree system in the 1980s. Beihang is one of the first universities that joined the "Project 211." It joined the "Project 985" in 2001, and was selected as the one of the first universities that joined the "2011 Plan" China Collaborative Innovation Center in 2013. Beihang now has 27 schools, covering 10 disciplines including engineering, science, management, liberal arts, law, economics, philosophy, education, medicine, and art. There are 8 first-class national key disciplines (tie for the 7th place among the national universities), 28 second-class national key disciplines, 9 Beijing key disciplines, and 28 key disciplines for national defense. Beihang has 13 disciplines that rank top 10 in China. Beihang has 59 undergraduate programs, 21 first-class disciplines with doctoral degree conferment, 38 first-class disciplines with master's degree conferment, and 17 centers for post-doctoral studies. There are 3,779 faculty and staff members, including 2,164 full-time teachers and 1,694 professors and associate professors, and 79.3% of the full-time teachers hold doctoral degrees. Beihang is home to a number of high-level talents represented by 20 academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering, 20 finalists selected for the "Recruitment Program of Global Experts" by the Organization Department of the Communist Party of China, 23 chief scientists of the "973 Program," 46 professors of the "Changjiang Scholars Program," 35 winners of the "National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars," and 3 national-level famous teachers. There are now 27,811 full-time enrolled students, including 14,428 undergraduates, 8,700 postgraduates, and 4,015 PhD students. There are 668 foreign students studying for a degree. Beihang strives to go global and pursue open exchange. By implementing the "International Brand Program," Beihang has created an international exchange cooperation network and platform, as a means to form an all-round, multi-level, and wide-range opening pattern, effectively enhancing Beihang's international influence and competitiveness. Beihang has established long-term and stable partnerships with nearly 200 famous universities, first-rate research institutions, and well-known multinational corporations. It has established the Sino-German Joint Software Institute, the Sino-UK (NLAA-RAL) Space Science and Technology Joint Laboratory, the Sino-France Materials Joint Laboratory, the French Research Center and other high-end international cooperation platforms. Beihang has joined a few international alliances and academic organizations such as the International Astronautical Federation, the TANDEM, the Sino-Spanish University Alliance, and the Association of Sino-Russian Technical Universities.

The space technology education and training activities carried out by the APSCO Education and Training Center in China and RCSSTEAP (China), both of which were established based on Beihang University, are intended to promote the education of space science and technology in the Asia-Pacific region, enhance the knowledge and understanding of the Asian-Pacific countries in space science and technology, improve the capabilities and levels of these countries in space science and technology, boost the social and economic development of these countries, and expand international cooperation among regions. Up to now, overseas postgraduate students for space technology applications have been enrolled for seven years in 10 classes, covering such programs as remote sensing and geographic information systems, satellite communications, satellite navigation, basic space science and technology (microsatellite) and so on. In the aspect of training in the ability to apply space technology to mitigate disasters, a systematic education and training system has been provided, which, based on the systematic training in space information theory methods, is focused on practical steps and effectively trains students in their ability to analyze and deal with problems using space information technology. In the aspect of personnel training in space technology applications, perfect working mechanisms and conditions have been provided. From April 20 to 29, 2015, RCSSTEAP (China) launched the international aerospace and satellite application (IASA) training course with the theme of "Satellite Navigation Technology and Applications," which received nearly 50 students from 15 countries. In September 2015, RCSSTEAP (China) held the first short-term training course in the space law, and organized the fifth international earthquake observation training course in the field of earthquake disaster prediction and loss assessment together with the UN-SPIDER Beijing office and the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO). RCSSTEAP (China), while serving the needs of talents in space technology applications in member countries of the Asia-Pacific region, will also greatly improve its technical ability to apply space information technology for regional disaster prevention and reduction.

The Shanghai Institute of Satellite Engineering (509 Research Institute) is a subsidiary of Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology, CASC. It is located in Minhang District, Shanghai. It covers a floor area of 196,416 square meters and a construction area of 60,997 square meters. The 509 Research Institute now has 14 scientific research departments, 8 management departments, and 809 employees, including 112 doctors and 480 masters. Its satellite products have won a total of more than 230 awards such as the National Award for Science and Technology Progress, including 11 national awards, 31 national defense awards, 5 ministries awards, and 62 local awards. Since 2003, the 509 Research Institute has applied for more than 230 patents, and patent applications have been growing at an annual rate of 20%. There are more than 40 licensed patents, and the patent licensing has been increasing an annual rate of 100%. Since 2009, the 509 Research Institute has formulated 2 national standards, 3 national military standards, 1 aerospace industry standard, and 40 standards for Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology. The scientific research results of the 509 Research Institute have been widely used in aerospace products and high-tech fields. The 509 Research Institute is one of the earliest high-tech enterprises in Shanghai.

As a traditional satellite system design organization engaged in the R&D of multiple models, the 509 Research Institute is mainly engaged in satellite system research, system analysis, and system design. At present, the institute mainly undertakes satellite system design, system simulation and simulation test, comprehensive test, and development of a few subsystems.

As the cradle of China's meteorological satellites, the 509 Research Institute has assumed the task of developing all of China's meteorological satellites and created the "Fengyun" satellite brand. It is also a main R&D base for earth remote sensing, space monitoring, and deep space exploration satellites.