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China to launch 10 satellites in 2008
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14:22, September 23, 2008

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China plans 10 space launches this year including the Shenzhou VII spaceship, according to a scientist from China's top space program research institute.

The 10 launches include two environmental satellites, a meteorological satellite and a communications satellite for Venezuela, according to Yang Baohua, head of the China Academy of Space Technology.

The launch of Shenzhou VII this year will spacewalk by taikonauts and lay the foundation work for China's space station construction.

The Huanjing-1A and Huanjing-1B, together with a third satellite to be launched next year, will shape China's first small satellite constellation for disaster monitoring. The constellation will enable scientists to conduct all-weather, 24 hour monitoring and forecast on the environment and natural disasters.

Yang said the country is also planning to send a record number of satellites into space in the next five to 10 years, but failed to mention the exact number.

China has sent an average of eight satellites into space annually during the first two years of its 11th five-year-plan (2006-2010), and the number was 1.5 before its ninth five-year-plan (1996-2000).

The mission for China's space administration in the coming five to 10 years will include a lunar landing, building a space laboratory and doing preparatory work for the third stage of China's moon exploration -- to bring back lunar soil.

China's space vehicles now are more reliable with a longer lifespan, said Yang, citing that the latest generation of communications satellites will last for 15 years or more.

The Academy has made breakthroughs in many areas including satellite recovery, geosynchronous communications satellites, manned space flight and moon exploration technology in the past 40 years, Yang said.

China Academy of Space technology has designed most of China's satellites, including the Shenzhou spaceships. By last December, the country had designed and manufactured about 80 space vehicles.


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