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China to launch 100 rockets, 100 satellites by 2015

Shenzhou spacecraft. Photo: China Manned Space Engineering Office.

BEIJING (PTI): China is planning to launch "100 rockets, 100 satellites" by 2015 as part of its ambitious space expansion programme.

China has set a target of completing a space mission of "100 rockets, 100 satellites" between 2011 and 2015, according to a space official.

On average, China will complete about 20 launch missions each year before 2015, Zhang Jianheng, deputy general manager of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp (CASC) said.

Commencing the programme last year China launched 19 satellites, a target orbiter Tiangong-1 and Shenzhou-8 spacecraft with 19 Long March rockets, a record high for China's space programme in launch numbers Zhang, deputy to the country's top legislature told state run Xinhua on the sidelines of the National People's Congress, (NPC).

China has surpassed the United States, which completed 18 launches in 2011, to become the world's No 2 in terms of launch numbers following Russia's 36 launches, Zhang said.

"The densely arranged launch missions and flight tests have posed an unprecedented challenge to the country's space programme," he said.

China has planned to launch 30 satellite with 21 rockets, including the launch of Shenzhou-9 spacecraft the year.

Shenzhou-9, which is scheduled to carry out China's first manned space rendezvous and docking with Tiangong-1 between June and August.

China conducted its first space docking experiment last year to build a space station of its own by 2020.

Zhang said CASC raked in 100 billion yuan (USD 15.87 billion) in operating income in 2011, bringing the company's total assets to more than 200 billion yuan.

He said the company will keep a growth rate of about 20 percent annually and its operating income is expected to hit 250 billion yuan by the year 2015.

The new space missions included launching the third lunar probe, Chang'e-3 next year and conduct a moon landing and lunar explorations.

Different from the previous two orbiters, Chang'e-3 has "legs" to support the spacecraft in landing, Ye Peijian, chief commander of Chang'e-3 at China Academy of Space Technology.

The orbiter will carry a lunar rover and other instruments for territory surveys, living conditions assessment, and space observations, Ye said.

The 100-kg lunar rover is designed to operate on the moon for over three consecutive months Ye said.

The launch of Chang'e-3 and Chang'e-4 is part of the second step of China's three-phrase lunar probe projects of orbiting, landing and returning.

China launched the Chang'e-1 in 2007 and the Chang'e-2 2010.

The first probe retrieved a great deal of scientific data and a complete map of the moon while the second one created a full higher-resolution map of the moon and a high-definition image of Sinus Iridium.


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