BEIJING: China has unrolled a plan to fill the sky with its satellites, launching a total of 100 by 2015. It will also carry out the first manned space rendezvous with the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft this year.
“The densely arranged launch missions and flight tests have posed an unprecedented challenge to the country’s space programme,” Zhang Jianheng, deputy general manager of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp said.
The plan is to stay ahead of the United States launching an average of 20 satellites a year. China crossed the US tally of 18 satellite launches in 2011 by sending out 20 of them last year.
But Russia continued to lead the world by launching 36 satellites in 2011.
China has an ambitious plan of launching 30 satellites in 2012, Zhang told reporters on the sidelines of the ongoing session of the Chinese parliament, where he is a legislator.
China conducted its first space docking experiment last year to build a space station of its own by 2020.
The new space missions included launching the third lunar probe, Chang’e-3 next year and conduct a moon landing and lunar explorations.
China launched the Change-1 in 2007 and the Chang’e-2 2010.