March 11, 2012
China... A Most Ambitious Schedule Pushes U.S. Into 3rd Place
The Times of India is reporting that China is planning to launch "100 rockets, 100 satellites" by 2015...
...as part of its ambitious space expansion program. 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 prior to 2015, Zhang Jianheng, deputy general manager of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. (CASC) said. Starting the program last year, China launched 19 satellites, a target orbiter Tiangong-1 and Shenzhou-8 spacecraft with 19 Long March rockets. This is a record high for China's space program in launch numbers Zhang 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 program," he said. China has planned to launch 30 satellite with 21 rockets, including the launch of Shenzhou-9 spacecraft the year. Shenzhou-9, 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 ($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 as well as to 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.
The unmanned Shenzhou 8 spacecraft (left) docked with the Tiangong 1 space station module in this computer graphic. (Credit: CCTV News)
С уважением, Павел Акулаев