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China leads world in successful orbital launches

(Global Times)    08:33, December 13, 2019

An earth observation satellite, Gaofen-12, is launched aboard a Long March-4C rocket from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Taiyuan, capital of north China's Shanxi Province, Nov. 28, 2019. Photo: Zheng Taotao/Xinhua

There have 29 successful rocket launches in China this year and with a few more scheduled for the last days of 2019, Chinese experts said they expect China to lead the world for a second year and showcase the nation's high-performing aerospace technology.

The US trails China with 25 launches and Russia 22, according to Chinese news website Guancha.

Experts noted that the lead shows that China's aerospace is on course and progressing steadily, step by step, according to a plan.

"After decades of development, China's space launches have shifted from previous scientific experiments to practical application, which has led to an increase in the number and scale of launches," said Wang Ya'nan, chief editor of Aerospace Knowledge magazine.

China 's launch technology has reached a "certain level of maturity," Wang said.

The year 2018 marked the first time China led the world in the number of successful orbital launches, with a goal of 35 and ending up with 39 launch attempts.

The US followed with 29 and Russia 20, according to Space Launch Report.

But there is still a gap between China and leading nations in terms of aerospace infrastructure and new-generation power systems. That difference will not be easy to narrow within a short time, he said.

This year witnessed remarkable achievements for Chinese aerospace history.

The country made its first rocket launch at sea on June 5. A Long March-11 blasted off from a platform on a large semi-submersible barge in the Yellow Sea.

2019 also witnessed the first successful launch by a private Chinese firm: Beijing Interstellar Glory Space Technology, also iSpace, launched the Hyperbola-1 launch vehicle from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Northwest China's Gansu Province in July. The test flight carried two satellites into a 300 kilometer altitude orbit.

On December 7, China made two launches in six hours. Two solid-fueled Kuaizhou 1A rockets fired into orbit from the same spaceport in Taiyuan Space Center in North China.

The rockets successfully carried a total of seven small satellites into orbit.

The China National Space Administration announced in July that the country plans to launch nearly 100 more satellites into space before 2025 and there are already 200 Chinese satellites in orbit. 

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

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