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China to Conduct over 20 Space Launches in 2011

The chief designer of the Chinese "Shen Zhou" spacecraft recently disclosed that China intends to conduct over 20 space launches in 2011, compared to 15 in 2010. The missions include its first target spacecraft “Tian Gong No. 1,” the “Shen Zhou No. 8” space shuttle, as well as the first unmanned space docking test. In November, China’s first Mars exploration space probe is to be sent by Russian carrier rocket.

China’s five-year (2011-2015) space plan focuses on space detection, earth observation, information utilization, and breakthroughs in space technology and applications. The year 2020 will see the accomplishment of the exploration of the Moon and Mars, the establishment of a high resolution earth observation system, and a global positioning system.

Source: Xinhua, March 2, 2011