S&T Daily reporter learnt from the press conference of the “Blue Book of China Aerospace Science and Technology Activities (2020)” (hereinafter referred to as the “Blue Book”) held by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation on February 24 that in 2021 China’s annual launches of satellites are expected to exceed 40 for the first time. Notable amongst them are the manned space station project, and the multiple civil space infrastructure operational satellites.
Forthcoming events reported are China’s manned space station project entered the key technology verification and construction phase; Tianwen-1 reaches Mars and carries out China’s first “orbit, patrol, and reconnaisance” exploration of Mars; a number of civil space infrastructure business satellite launches to meet the national economic construction and scientific and technological development needs. These major events will write a new chapter in China’s aerospace industry in 2021.
Lin Yiming, Director of the Aerospace Department of the Aerospace Science and Technology Group, introduced that China’s manned space station project is the top priority of the annual space mission. Among them, the mission of the core module of the Long March 5B Yao-2 rocket launching space station is planned to be carried out at the Wenchang Space Launch Site in China this spring. According to the mission plan, 11 missions will be implemented successively this year and next two years, including three space station module launches, four cargo spacecraft and four manned spacecraft launches, to complete the construction of the space station in orbit in 2022 and achieve the mission goal of the third step of China’s three-step development strategy for manned space engineering.
China’s first Mars exploration mission Tianqian –1 successfully circumnavigated Mars and became the country’s first man-made Mars satellite. It successfully implemented the third near-fire braking on February 24, reaching a near-fire point of 280 kilometers away, far-fire point 59,000 km and Mars parking orbit of a period of 2 Mars days. The probe will operate in the parking orbit for about 3 months to conduct scientific exploration, while preparing for a Mars landing in May to June.
In 2021, China will also launch the Gaofen 5 02, Ocean II D, Zhongxing 9B, Fengyun 3 05 and civil space infrastructure operational satellites to meet the application needs of users in many other nations in various fields such as ecology and environment, natural resources, radio and television, and meteorology. Meanwhile, Aerospace Science and Technology Group plans to carry out about 7 commercial launch missions.
In addition, Lin Yiming introduced that in 2021, the Space Science and Technology Group will focus on the development of a number of models represented by the space station experiment module and the fourth phase of the lunar exploration project, and focus on accelerating the application of major national scientific and technological projects in civil aviation and other fields such as Beidou navigation.
According to the “Blue Book” statistics, a total of 114 launches were made worldwide in 2020, launching a record high of 1,277 satellites. Of them, 39 space launches, with 89 satellites, were Chinese. They set a new record of the total weight of satellites reaching 103.06 tons, an increase of 29.3% over the previous year, ranking second in the world in terms of the number of launches and the quality of launch loads.
This year, our country’s space launches are expected to exceed 40 for the first time