Beijing: China has set up a target of
launching 20 rockets and 25 satellites into space by the end
of this year, making it the second country after Russia to
accomplished that many launches in a year.
"This year, we are supposed to launch 20 rockets and 25
satellites, a number that would put China in second place
after Russia," Yuan Jiajun, deputy general manager of China
Aerospace and Technology Corp, said asserting that the
country`s space projects have entered a stage of
high-intensity development and launching.
He did not clarify how many satellites and rockets have
been launched in the first 10 months of 2011.
China launched 15 rockets to send 20 satellites in to
space in 2010, comparable numbers to the US and Russia,
historically the world`s two most prolific launchers of
spacecraft, Yuan said.
"It is an arduous process and a great challenge for us to
cope with the high intensity of satellite launching. It
requires us to be equipped with sufficient capacity,"
state-run news agency Xinhua quoted him as saying.
At the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the northwest
Gobi desert, a total of eight satellites will be launched
within the year along with the country`s first space lab
module, Tiangong-1, which blasted off in September to await
docking with the spacecraft Shenzhou-8, ready to take off in
early November from the same launch base.
While preparation work for the launch of Shenzhou-8 is in
its final stages, testing on another satellite is going on at
the same time at the assembly and testing center, 1.5 km away
from the launch pad.
Cui Jijun, director of the Jiuquan Satellite Launch
Center, said the high intensity that his team was expected to
maintain had "become a normal status of our daily work. The
high-intensity launching has become normalized while it was
only periodical years ago."
As one of China`s three satellite launch bases in use,
the Jiuquan site has undertaken the majority of China`s
"Just like TV sets are assembled in plants around the
clock, our daily work of launching satellites is quite normal
and it is our duty," Cui said.
To cope with increased demand over the years, equipment
has been dramatically upgraded and the numbers of personnel
increased, Cui said.
He noted, however, that China`s space technologies still
lag behind the advanced levels of some countries.