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China plans commercial space voyages for 2020

By Ma Danning (People's Daily Online)    15:21, November 02, 2016

China's state-owned commercial aerospace manufacturer and provider has planned a three-step strategy to ignite the country’s space tourism industry, Global Times reported.

Han Qingping, president of ChinaRocket Ltd. Co., disclosed the plan at an aerospace forum in Zhuhai, Guangdong province on Oct. 31. According to Han, from 2020 to 2024, the company will offer a smaller 10-ton class of spaceplane geared toward tourism, which will be capable of transporting three to five people to an altitude between 60 and 80 kilometers in the air, offering passengers a brief taste of weightlessness.

From 2025 to 2029, the company pledges to use a larger 100-ton spaceplane capable of flying 20 people to an altitude between 120 and 140 kilometers. This goal involves significantly more passengers than the current plans of other commercial spaceflight firms.

From 2030 to 2035, China Rocket plans to provide a longer space travel experience using a 100-ton spaceplane, which will fly 10 to 20 people to an altitude of 80 to 90 kilometers, supporting both intercontinental flights and commercial space flights.

Wang Xiaojun, general director of the Long March-7 carrier rocket project from the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, said China still needs to break several technological barriers to ensure affordability and safety. Otherwise China’s space travel services cannot be competitive in the global arena.

The market value of commercial space travel in China is projected to reach 30 billion RMB ($4.6 billion) annually by 2020, Xinhua reported, citing Hu Shengyun, a senior rocket engineer at China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Ma Danning, Bianji)

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