China completes this year’s launches

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Turkish earth observation satellite GK-2 is launched on a Long March 2D carrier on Dec. 19, 2012 12:13 a.m Beijing time. (Source: Xinhua)

Just a few hours ago China’s Long March carrier rocket series marked its 174th -and this year’s final- flight with the launch of a Turkish earth observation satellite. In total, China completed 19 successful launches this year, sending 28 satellites or spacecraft into orbit.

Other recent launches include the Yaogan XVI remote-sensing satellite, launched on 25 November. The Yaogan XVI remote-sensing satellite was developed by an affiliate research institute of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC). Its mission objectives include “technological experimentation, land resource surveying, agricultural yield estimation and disaster prevention and reduction”. Further details in this source. A few days later, a Long March-3B placed a Chinasat 12, a telecommunication satellite made by Thales Alenia Space, into orbit. More information here.

Next year 20 satellites are set to be launched. Definite highlights will be the manned space docking test between Tiangong-1 and Shenzhou-10 (in June), and the launch of Chang’e-3 moon lander (in July-September).

Read up more about China’s space program in our (Dutch-only) overview (part 1 and 2).

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