China to send over 40 spacecraft in 20 launches in 2015
People's Daily Online
(CRI Online) 10:18, March 18, 2015
Chinese space authorities have announced plans to launch more than 40 different spacecraft into orbit this year.
The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation says it plans to send the 40 spacecraft into orbit through 20 separate space launches this year.
2013 saw Chinese space authorities conduct 16 separate launches.
Zhao Xiaojin, director of the Space Department with the China Aerospace and Science Technology Corporation says most of the spacecraft to be put into orbit this year will be satellites.
'They will be mainly communication satellites, or geosynchronous satellites orbiting at the height of 36-thousand miles. There will also be some remote sensing satellites sent up to observe the earth, as well as navigation satellites for the Beidou system.'
Chinese space authorities do say a number of 'cutting-edge' technologies will also be tested for the first time.
This is scheduled to include the launch of the Yuanzheng I upper stage aircraft, dubbed the 'space shuttle bus.'
The experimental craft is scheduled to independently send a Beidou satellite into orbit after being launched into space from a terrestrial flight pattern in earth's atmosphere.
On top of this, Zhao Xiaojin says work is also continuing on the Chinese lunar program.
'We have made breakthroughs in most of the key technology needed for the Chang'e-5 mission. This year we will conduct more ground tests, particularly ones involving the conditions which will imitate the environment on the moon.'
Meanwhile, the Chinese government has already begun opening up its its lunar exploration program to private investment.
Private money is being courted to take part in the Chang'e-4 lunar mission.
Chang'e-4 is similar to the Chang'e-3 which put the 'Jade Rabbit' rover on the moon in 2013.
Chang'e-4 is scheduled to be launched sometime before 2020.
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