China Plans More Than 20 Space Launches in 2016

China has announced its busy 2016 launch manifest, with more than 20 missions scheduled for this year. The country that conducted 19 successful space flights in 2015, intends to launch its Tiangong 2 space laboratory and a manned spacecraft Shenzhou 11, among other military and commercial orbital missions.

The first Chinese launch this year will be carried out on Jan. 15, when a Long March 3B rocket will blastoff the Belintersat 1 communications satellite for Belarus. Liftoff will take place from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, located in Sichuan Province. The spacecraft was built by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation and is China’s first communications satellite exported to Europe.

On Apr. 30, the country plans to deliver two Argentinian Earth-observing satellites, named NuSat-1 and NuSat-2 for the Aleph-1 constellation. A Long March 4B booster will be employed for this mission slated to be launched from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Shanxi Province.

Only these two launch dates were disclosed by Chinese media so far. Other launches are targeted for certain months or halves of the year with exact dates TBD. Several missions are still unassigned to any specific period of the year.

The most important and apparently attention-grabbing Chinese orbital mission in 2016 will be sending a trio of astronauts into space. The crew will fly onboard the Shenzhou 11 spacecraft, expected to be launched by a Long March 2F – a carrier rocket designed for manned missions. Liftoff will be conducted from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in Gansu Province in the second half of the year. China hasn’t yet released any information about the crew of this flight.

Full article: China Plans More Than 20 Space Launches in 2016 (SpaceDaily)

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