System Design


Under China Manned Space Program, the Division of System Design of the Technology and Engineering Center for Space Utilization, Chinese Academy of Sciences was established as a research and support institution for the overall technology of the space utilization system of the Program. It is responsible for the overall scheme design of the Space Utilization System, the management and technical coordination of the system’s internal and external interfaces, and the technical management and support of payload development.

A group of aerospace high-tech talents and professionals on system engineering management are working in the Division of System Design now. Up to July 2014, the Division has a total of 22 employees and 1 rehired expert.

The Division of System Design has formed a 2-dimensional matrix architecture including professional dimension and engineering product dimension. The professional dimension includes systems engineering approach, aircraft design, overall design of electronics and information systems, task analysis and overall design of flight control, overall design of advanced testing techniques, software engineering, multidisciplinary optimization and the simulation verification; the engineering product dimension includes target aircrafts, the Shenzhou spacecrafts, space labs, space station, cargo spacecraft, etc. Its scientific research covers the entire life circle from mission planning, overall design, product development, system integration, experiments, flight tests to researches after flight.

Missions and Research Content

The Division is responsible for the overall design of the utilization system and determining its interface relationship with other systems under the Program; completing task decomposition, determining technology development process, clarifying technical requirement of the subsystems, identifying and auditing technical conditions of the subsystems, coordinating the interfaces between the subsystems and providing technical support for the subsystems; responsible for the engineering technical support of relevant scientific research and application fields, engineering requirement analysis and implementation follow-up; promoting the development and construction of disciplines including systems engineering, knowledge engineering, advanced simulation and concurrent engineering, carrying out academic research activities, constructing a talent team of systems engineering with multidisciplinary background, improving the level of scientific research and engineering ability,  developing corresponding platforms.

Undertaken Tasks

Project approval and engineering development for space station utilization tasks.

Development, launch test and flight test for space lab utilization tasks.

Project approval, development, launch test and flight test for cargo spacecraft utilization tasks.

The construction of engineering supporting platforms.

Goals of Development

Based on the requirement of the manned space program to system design, initially form high level research ability in fields such as systems engineering, knowledge engineering, advanced simulation and concurrent engineering; strive for relevant scientific research tasks; conduct research on theory and application method;  achieve advanced research results to provide a solid foundation of system science and technology to fulfill the engineering tasks with high quality.

Scientific Research Activity and Progress

The Division of System Design has successively carried out scientific research activities, including the research on systems engineering techniques and methods, research on knowledge engineering methods and technology, concurrent engineering, system simulation, multidisciplinary optimization research, etc.

Space laboratory

The space laboratory of the Space Utilization system performs multiple experiments in four fields containing earth scientific observation and application, space science experiment and exploration. Until August 2013, the utilization system had fully completed the prototype phase and passed the prototype development summary and the review of the formal sample. At present, the Division of System Design has completed the compilation, countersignature and approval of the assignment book of the formal sample’s development. At the same time, all the interface data sheets have been countersigned. Currently, every payload is carrying out formal sample development and tests as scheduled, and the system joint test will be held in September this year. 

Cargo spacecraft

According to the task arrangement of the application system of cargo spacecrafts, the utilization system, combined with the characteristics of the space science project, decomposes the application task of the first cargo spacecraft. Meanwhile, the system clearly defines all the activities including task analysis, design input and output, system review, technical coordination, system test and experiments to ensure its control over the design and development process. Now, it has completed the overall design of the application system, development planning report and input and output lists, and is preparing for the evaluation. 

Space station

Aiming at building a national-level space laboratory, the application task of space station is trying to make a major breakthrough in science and technology. In space station engineering, a document on interface control with space station system was signed in July 2014. Now, the extravehicular project assessment is under way and the general argumentation scheme on project approval for the utilization system is under adjustment. At the same time, The System Design Laboratory is implementing science popularization education and international cooperation actively to make contribution to boosting the public’s scientific literacy.


Supporting platform

To realize space station’s full use of resources and maximum benefit, the Division developed a ground operationa support system covering the full cycle of the application system. Based on the multi-task structure, the supporting system adopts system engineering approach to fully guarantee the high efficiency and high quality of the application operation progress with iterative optimization design, efficient simulation, collaborative agile control and comprehensive security work by taking the operation resource planning of the full life cycle as the main line, the simulation optimization and validation as the center, the modeling of the whole development progress as the foundation, the comprehensive repair and maintenance as the support, the multi-level progressive test and varification as the method, and the science data center as the service window to scientific research and application. Until now, the scheme design has been finished, and stepped into implementation stage steadily.





Since its establishment, the System Design Division has won more than 10 “Military Prize of Science and Technology Progress”( first and second prize). In 2008, it was honored as the “National Women Leading Group” by All-China Women’s Federation, and awarded the Shenzhou 7 mission’s group and individual prize by Chinese Space Foundation. In 2011, Central Committee of the CYL and National Youth Federation granted the Laboratory “China Youth May 4th Medal Group”; 5 people were awarded “Outstanding Contributions to Spaceflight Program”. 


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Copyright @2002-2013 Center for Space Utilization, CAS