Interview with Ms. YU Qi
Ms. Yu Qi, born in 1965, Chinese citizen, is working as the Secretary-General of Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization(APSCO) since November, 2020. She works closely national space agencies and international organizations, and takes an active role in the diplomats' community.
She is enthusiastic to work in capacity-building for Member States in the field of space technology and application. She has been working with United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs(UN-OOSA), by taking part in cooperative activities and multilateral discussion of space treaties and regulations, and accumulated with rich experience with international space cooperation. She served as the Deputy Director-General of International Cooperation Department of China National Space Administration(CNSA); Deputy Director of Center for Earth Observation Data, CNSA, and long commitment as the management level with Institute of Remote Sensing Application, Chinese Academy of Science. She has made publication of "Modern Remoter Sensing Science and Technology System and Theoretical Method in 2013, joint with other authors. She is given Special Award in Science and Technology Advancement of CAS and the 2nd praise of National Award in STA in 1992 and 1993 respectively.
1. It is very impressive that APSCO covers a wide geographical region from Bangladesh all the way to Peru and more. Can you briefly describe its structure and main goals?
APSCO currently have eleven Member Countries, that include eight Full Member: Bangladesh, China, Iran, Mongolia, Pakistan, Peru, Thailand, Turkey, one Signatory Member: Indonesia, one Associate Member: Egypt and two Observers: Mexico and ISNET (Inter-Islamic network on Space Science and Technology). China is the host country for APSCO and the Headquarter of the organization is located in Beijing, China. APSCO also has cooperative partnerships with ESA, Argentina and Russia on satellite data sharing and capacity building in space related fields.
It was granted the status of a Permanent Observer on the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS) in 2009. APSCO also holds Observer status at Group on Earth Observation (GEO) and the International Committee on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (ICG).
2. Can you also tell us how would you describe APSCO’s achievement since its established?
APSCO, as the Multilateral Inter-Governmental Organization, provides a platform for cooperative activities and capacity building in Member States in the field of space science, technology and its applications. The main purpose of APSCO is to provide a cooperative mechanism and support for countries in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly the developing countries, to be able to mainstream peaceful uses of space as a driver of their socio-economic development. By pooling up and sharing financial, technological and human resources in space science, space technology and space application, APSCO can effectively promote multilateral cooperation to facilitate capacity building for its members. Over the past decade, APSCO has benefited its members through different cooperative activities to make full use of its uniquely wide geographical coverage area and effectively share its resources.
APSCO has established six Cooperative Networks in its Development Plan of Space Activities; these are: Data Sharing Network, Space Segment Network and Inter-Connection of Ground Systems, Ground-Based Space Object Observation Disaster Monitoring Network, Space Application Network, and Education and Training Network. There is other 13 cooperative projects currently running to explore and exploit outer space through peaceful uses, covering the domains of space science, space technology, and space applications. APSCO continues to peruse all above activities with more rigorous initiatives in line with the New Development Plan of Cooperation Activities of APSCO (2021-2030), which is strategic document approved by the Council of APSCO for next decade activities.
3. Will APSCO expand its membership? What are the conditions to join?
Establishment of the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO) is a long-desired outcome of the efforts of people of this region to harness space for peaceful purposes, and capitalize on the regional cooperation. Since its operation, under the leadership of the APSCO Council through ministry-level Council Meetings, the Secretariat of APSCO has improved its internal administration, diligently pushed forward the cooperative programs among Member States in the area of space applications, space technology and space science, as well as Education/Training programs including organizing the International Symposiums. APSCO has established respectable reputation in the international space community. In order to benefit more nations in Asia-Pacific region through the space-activity cooperation, APSCO continuously explored all possibilities on expansion of Membership and APSCO is open to all countries in the Asia-Pacific Region.
4. What kind of cooperative relationship and projects has APSCO developed with ISSI-BJ so far? And what are the major milestones in the APSCO-ISSI-BJ cooperation?
The cooperation between the two organizations has been initiated in the year 2015. The primary goal of the cooperation was formulating a joint Space Science School series for development of the future generation and to attract more active involvement of the Asia-Pacific talents in space science research. The 1st Space Science School was jointly organized in Oct. 2016 in Thailand with the theme of “How to design a Space Science Mission” and it was very much welcome by the participants. The 2nd Space Science School was jointly organized in Oct. 2018 in China with the theme of “Study Space Weather Effects: from the Sun to the Ground”. The arrangement of the 2nd school was in a way that the participants could join a team and do practical scientific data analysis. This made the school more attractive to and highly valued by the participants. There has also been a joint brainstorming Forum and a training on "Science Missions using CubeSats" in 2019. The final outcome of this activity was published as a journal paper. In summary, there has been a good record of cooperation with meaningful purpose and fruitful outcome.
5. In Europe, ISSI and ESA have been in close collaboration. ISSI provides all kinds of service to ESA’s space programs, like, data digging and enhancing the missions’ scientific output. It also undertakes some training programs from ESA. Do you think ISSI-BJ and APSCO can build a similar relationship?
ISSI-BJ and APSCO can develop similar cooperation on training programmes and also joint effort on science missions like the one being developed by the COSPAR on cubesat constellation for scientific research.
6. ISSI-BJ is developing several online seminar series in English at different levels (i.e., from general public to specialists). It would be very nice if there is interest and active participation in the APSCO members. How can it be achieved?
APSCO can publish announcement of a selected number of such seminars based on the interest of the Member States.
7. What additional opportunities would you like to provide for the cooperation between APSCO and ISSI-BJ?
There are some ideas for further consideration and possible future cooperation:
First, we suggest both organizations could join the Universe Adventure program which is initiated in APSCO and UK Universities and focuses on space science satellites data analysis. Second, we would be glad to be part of the cubesat constellation program of COSPAR, the third, we propose to construct space science e-lessons, shot series classical e-lessons, help developing countries universities students to get space science knowledge. And the fourth, we propose to joint effort on younger generation development to help teenagers get familiar with space science. It could be realized with programs such as space related science experiment design and textbook development for the children, arouse their interest on aerospace.