After boosting its defense budget with nearly US $ 11 billion, now China plans launching 100 rockets and 100 satellites between 2011 and 2015, reported China’s state controlled news agency Xinhua through Zhang Jianheng, deputy general manager of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. (CASC). It will complete about 20 launch missions each year before 2015, Zhang said.
Zhang who is also deputy to the country’s top legislature, the National People’s Congress, told Xinhua on the sidelines of the ongoing parliamentary session that China launched 19 satellites, a target orbiter Tiangong-1 and Shenzhou-8 spacecraft with 19 Long March rockets last year. China also conducted its first space docking experiment last year.
The United States had 18 launches while Russia had 36 launches in 2011. India launched 4 major satellites in 2011. It launched three more small/experimental satellites. The satellites launched by India in 2011 are as follows:
In 2012, China has planned 30 satellite launches with 21 rockets, including the launch of Shenzhou-9 spacecraft, which is scheduled to carry out China’s first manned space rendezvous and docking with Tiangong-1 between June and August.
CASC raked in 100 billion yuan (US $15.87 billion) in operating income in 2011. Its operating income is expected to be nearly US $40 billion by the year 2015.
The new space missions include launching the third lunar probe, Chang’e-3 next year and conduct a moon landing and lunar explorations. China also plans to build a space station of its own by 2020.
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. It earlier successfully launched two lunar probes, the Chang’e-1 in 2007 and Chang’e-2 in 2010.
In its white paper on space exploration issued in December last year, China said that the space industry is an important part of the nation’s overall development strategy and adhered to exploration and utilization of outer space for peaceful purposes. It enlisted space transportation system, Earth satellites, human spaceflights and deep-space exploration apart from space laboratories, manned spaceship and space freighters as its major task over next five years.
China also plans to launch orbiters for lunar soft landing, roving and surveying, a space infrastructure frame composed of Earth observation satellites, communications and broadcasting satellites, plus navigation and positioning satellites, according to the white paper.
China successfully launched the Shenzhou-7 manned spaceship in September 2008 and became the third country in the world to master the key technology of astronaut space extravehicular activity.
In November 2011, China accomplished the first unmanned space mission and docking test between the Tiangong-1 space lab module and Shenzhou-8 spaceship.