China to conduct over 20 satellite launches in 2016

Beijing, Feb 29 (IANS) China plans to conduct more than 20 satellite launch missions in 2016, which positions China to exceed launches by the US, an official from the country’s Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation said on Monday.

Among them, a total of 15 launches are significant projects or first flights, People’s Daily quoted the official as saying.

The country will send several rockets in space, including Tiangong-2, an orbiting space lab and Shenzhou-11, a manned spacecraft with two people on board.

The year 2016 is a big year for China’s aerospace industry, as two new types of rockets will also 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 2016.

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.

China will also send several experimental satellites into space in 2016. The country’s retrievable Shijian-10 satellite will be launched in April at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre.

It will also send a Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope, an X-ray space observatory, and a quantum communication satellite. The country plans to launch its first ever carbon-tracking satellite into space in August.

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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