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China to Send 20 Satellites into Space in 2013

China Daily, December 20, 2012 Adjust font size:

China sent a Turkish Earth observation satellite into orbit on Wednesday, marking the completion of this year's space launches.

Twenty-eight satellites and spacecraft were sent into space in 19 launches this year, according to the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense.

All of the launch missions have been successful, the administration said.

Next year, China plans to send about 20 satellites into space, according to China News Service, quoting unnamed official sources.

In addition, it will carry out a manned space docking test between orbiting target module Tiangong-1 and the Shenzhou X spacecraft in June. In the second half of the year, the Chang'e-3 moon probe will be launched, and it is expected to land and remain on the moon.

Of the 19 launches this year, five were commercial launches, said Geng Kun, a spokeswoman for the China Great Wall Industry Corp under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.

The China Great Wall Industry is authorized by the government to put commercial satellites in orbit.

Geng said the five commercial launches were the most in recent years. There were just three launches for international clients in 2011, and only one has been scheduled for 2013.

Wednesday's launch of the Turkish satellite — the GK-2 — from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Northwest China's Gansu province, together with the launch of a remote-sensing satellite for Venezuela in September, marked the first two missions of China's Long March 2D carrier rocket for international clients, she said.

Before these missions, China had not conducted any low-Earth orbit missions from international clients for more than a decade, she said.

The satellite, developed by Turkey's Space Technologies Research Institute and Turkish Aerospace Industries, will be used mainly for environmental protection, mineral resource exploration, urban planning, and disaster monitoring and management, according to the statement.

It marked the 174th flight of the Long March series of carrier rockets. So far, China has carried out 37 commercial launches, sending 43 satellites into space, according to the corporation.

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