China to launch 30 space missions in 2017

06 Jan 2017 | By NewsBytes Desk

China has begun expanding its space faring capabilities.

China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation stated that China is planning to launch 30 space-missions this year, 8 more than last year's record setting mark.

China plans to launch a lunar probe, which is to land on the far side of the moon in 2018; it also seeks to begin construction of its space station.

In context: China's burgeoning space program

OriginsChina's space program

The Chinese Space Program began in early 1950s when the country embarked on a ballistic missile program; its space program is directed by the China National Space Administration.

China launched its first satellite in April 1970, making it the fifth nation in the world to achieve space capabilities.

Since then, the program has expanded to include a lunar mission, a space station, etc.

Launch vehiclesChina's launch vehicles

The Long march series of rockets are China's primary launch vehicles for its space missions.

They were developed as multi-stage variants of China's Dong Feng ballistic missile technology.

Today the primary launch vehicles for China include the Long March 5 (heavy lift) and the Long March 7 (medium lift) rockets.

The Long March 6 and Long March 11 rockets are used for smaller payloads.

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The progress of China's space program

MilestonesThe progress of China's space program

China launched its first satellite in 1970; after that China made several advances in technology enabling the launch of several more satellites.

In 2003, China became the third nation to independently launch a crewed space program, putting an astronaut into space for 21 hours.

China developed the Tiangong-1 space station module and staged a space-walk in 2011; it landed a lunar rover in 2013.

Tiangong-1 crashing to earth?

After being decommissioned in March 2016, China lost control of the Tiangong-1 space-station module. Officials expect it to re-enter earth's orbit in 2017, however it is uncertain where or when it will make its re-entry.

More progressTiangong-2, a Chinese space station

In September 2016, China launched the Tiangong-2 space lab; the Shenzhou 11 rocket successfully docked with the lab a month later carrying 2 astronauts, making a remarkable independent feat.

China's first cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-1 is expected to dock with Tiangong-2 in early-2017 carrying supplies for experiments.

With this, China aims to have its first fully-functional space station in orbit by 2022.

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06 Jan 2017China to launch 30 space missions in 2017

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