Yes, I know it's a hard question considering the tight interaction between military and "civilian" space programs and the Great Wall, but it is really interesting to know the scale of the "enterprise".

Please note that speculative opinions aren't welcome. Please state references used and the year for which the data are valid.


2 Answers 2


The Chinese Space Program is largely handled by two entities, China National Space Administration (CNSA) and China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC). They are both state agencies with the former handling the planning and the latter, the implementation.

A Wired article dated July 1, 2013, and titled, A dragon in space: China's space programme can no longer be ignored contributes a couple of figures:

"What you find in China is that there are many different actors involved in the space programme," says Bergquist. The Chinese National Space Agency (CNSA) is little more than a clearing house that co-ordinates funding and international co-operation, to the extent that such co-operation exists. According to Berquist, it has only between 30 to 40 staff, making it much more like the UK Space Agency and much less like Nasa.

The real work is done by an array of contractors, most of which fall under the umbrella of the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC). Employing over 100,000 people, CASC develops military hardware like ballistic missiles and UAVs, as well as an array of space technology.

NTI, a watchdog of some sort, notes (2012):

120,000 employees, including more than 30 scholars of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE)2

The 120,000 number for CASC is also listed on this University of the West of England profile page for the corporation.

Kosmos Directive, an "international society that was inaugurated in 2011 in Moscow - Russia, dedicated to the development of studies in International Space Law and Space History of Humanity" estimates CASC's employee numbers to be 110,000.

So, a 100,000-120,000 employees appears to be the general consensus.


While living in China (2004 to 2007), I overheard that China was hiring every space engineer its universities were producing every year. So, at the time, I heard that their center in Gansu province was the place for over 300000 space related workers. Of course no one told me if they were working under the same entity... Could include many "private" enterprise as well...


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