Regional Center for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific (China) (affiliated to the United Nations) (RCSSTEAP (China)) was established on November 17, 2014 in Beihang University (previously known as Beijing Univeristy of Aeronautics and Astronautics), marking a milestone in the development of China's international space education. At present, 10 countries have become the center's members including Argentina, Algeria, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Indonesia, Pakistan, Peru, and Venezuela. For the purpose of facilitating the U.N. Space Applications Program and meeting the demands of the Asia-Pacific countries regarding space science and technology education, the Center offers education programs for academic and non-academic qualifications, and carries out academic exchanges and consultation in the field of space technology applications.
The programs for academic qualifications offered by the Center include remote sensing and geographic information systems, satellite communications, global navigation satellite system, basic space science and technology, space law, and meteorological satellite applications. The Center focuses on training professionals in space science and technology and applications for countries in the Asia-Pacific region in a bid to make them acquire broad and solid fundamental theories and in-depth systematic expertise in space technology and applications and to empower them to engage in space scientific research, technology application, or specialized jobs. Academic degree winners should be able to understand the new dynamics of space science and technology as well as the applications of new technologies. The research reports or dissertations written by them should have due practicality or application prospects. In terms of course content design, the Center gives priority to the actual needs of countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and gives full play to China's advantages in space technology and application fields in training students’ research and application abilities in space science and technology. In terms of teachers, all teachers and instructors have a background of studying abroad and a domestic experience in postgraduate teaching and close involvement in the application of space technology. In addition to teachers from Beihang University, experts and professors from domestic and foreign universities, research institutes and companies are employed to teach at the Center.
The programs for non-academic qualifications offered by the Center include short-term training, summer schools, summer/winter camps, popular science lectures, and visiting studies (semester/school year). Each year sees frequent academic exchanges in the field of space science and technology education at Beihang University. Since 2006, there have been a total of 205 international academic conferences held on the campus, averaging at least 2 times per month, including more than 30 international conferences related to the application of space technology. Academic exchanges provide opportunities to track the latest developments in space technology and applications. The targets of consulting services include relevant governmental departments, private companies and social organizations in the member countries of the region. Beihang University also established the International Space Education Center,which started to offer the Master program on Space Technology Applications (MASTA) in 2006. Up to December 2015, the Center and Beihang University had enrolled more than 160 students from 19 countries, among whom over 70 students graduated and obtained a master's degree. In 2013, a Ph.D. program in space technology applications was established with the main orientations in remote sensing and GIS, satellite communications, satellite navigation, basic space science and technology (small satellite technology), and space law and policies. These education and training programs have trained a large number of professionals in the field of space technology applications for the Asia-Pacific region. Several graduates have become the main leaders, chief engineers, and technical directors of their countries' space authorities, include the executive director and deputy director of Venezuelan Space Agency and the Secretary-General of the Peruvian Space Agency.
As can be seen from Figure 1, the Center has enrolled students from 19 different countries from 2006 to 2015. The enrollment from Thailand, Mongolia and Pakistan ranks among the top three.
RCSSTEAP (China) held three short-term training courses in 2015 respectively on satellite navigation technology and applications, remote sensing technology and applications, and space law and policies.
The short-term course was themed on "Satellite Navigation Technology and Applications". This short-term training course was determined and planned as a series entitled "International Aerospace and Satellite Applications" (IASA 2015). The training course was jointly organized by the Center and Beihang University, CGWIC, China National Space Administration and Beidou International Exchange Training Center. Nearly 50 trainees from 16 countries participated in the training, which was offered by 14 teachers, including 2 from abroad (France, Croatia) and 12 from China. The first short-term training course was successfully offered at Beihang University from April 19 to 29, 2015.
In line with the principles of resource sharing, efficiency improvement, and win-win cooperation, the short-term course on remote sensing technology and applications was organized by the Center in collaboration with UN-SPIDER, the National Disaster Reduction Center of China (NDRCC) and APSCO on September 14-22, 2015. During the session, a three-day international conference on disaster management space technology was fit into September 14-16, with the themed on "A considering role in the implementation on the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction", while a technical training session themed on "Earth observation technologies for earthquake damage and loss assessment" was scheduled for September 17-22. Seven experts in relevant fields from UN-SPIDER, DigitalGlobe, the Regional Center for India, and NDRCC were invited as instructors for this short course. A total of more than 30 trainees from 20 countries participated in the training.
The Center organized a short-term training course on space law and policies in collaboration with APSCO on September 17-25, 2015, including a two-day seminar on space law on September 21-22 and two special lectures on space law and policies respectively on September 17-18 and 23-25. A total of 15 scholars, experts, lawyers, and officials of governments and international organizations were invited as instructors for the training from the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Sweden, Chinese mainland and Hong Kong SAR. The trainees came from 12 countries and nearly amounted to 40.