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People's Daily Online

China to conduct more than 20 satellite launches in 2016

People's Daily Online

By Yuan Can (People's Daily Online) 14:56, February 29, 2016

The year 2016 is a big year for China's aerospace industry, as several rockets will be sent into space, including Tiangong-2, an orbiting space lab and Shenzhou-11, a manned spacecraft with two people on board.

Two new types of rockets will be launched in 2016. Long March-7, scheduled to be launched in June, will put the country's first cargo ship, Tianzhou-1, into space in the first half of 2017 to dock with Tiangong-2 and conduct experiments.

Furthermore, Long March-5 is slotted to be sent into space in September of this year. This type of rocket has the largest carrying capacity among the new generation of rockets in China, with a maximum payload capacity of 25 tons to low Earth orbit and 14 tons to geosynchronous transfer orbit.

Both of the launches will take place at the newly constructed Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in south China's Hainan province.

In addition, China will send several experimental satellites into space in 2016. China's retrievable Shijian-10 satellite will be launched in April at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. China will also send a Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope, an X-ray space observatory, and a quantum communication satellite. China plans to launch its first ever carbon-tracking satellite into space in August.

According to a staff member from China's Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, China plans to conduct more than 20 satellite launch missions in 2016, which positions China to exceed U.S. launches. Among them, a total of 15 launches are significant projects or first flights.

China launched the first of a new generation of navigation satellites for its BeiDou navigation system in 2015. The next of these satellites is set to be launched this year. Gaofen-3 satellite, a Chinese civilian remote sensing satellite, will also be sent into space in 2016.

In addition, China sent a Belarusian communications satellite into space, and will also help the country with its commercial sensing satellites.



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