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In 2021, China’s CASC plans for over 40 space launches

In 2021, China’s largest space contractor plans to carry out over 40 orbital launches, such as the launch of a module for space stations as well as human spaceflight missions. At a January 4 conference, in a work report detailing main objectives for 2021, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) declared the goal. Last year, China deployed 39 times, maintaining the past few years’ rapid launch paces. In a CASC press statement (Chinese), a terse description of the study confirmed that flights related to the Chinese Space Station complex would be one of the 40-plus releases scheduled.

Latest sources suggest that accompanied by the Tianzhou-2 cargo vessel as well as Shenzhou-12 crewed spacecraft, the space station core structure will be deployed in the coming weeks. Long March 5B, as well as Long March 7, deploys from Wenchang and Long March 2F launch from the Jiuquan in Gobi Desert will be needed for the missions. The Tianwen-1 Mars spaceship, which is scheduled to reach Mars orbit about February 10 with the rover landing try to follow in May, has other notable highlighted events. The two test modules for the Chinese Space Station and, especially, crewed lunar exploration will be the subject of construction work. There were no further specifics on the above, although earlier hints are available.

The study also states that CASC would also concentrate on accelerating the development of primary national research and technical initiatives in civil aviation as well as other areas, like the Beidou satellite navigation system. In the update, no comprehensive launch documentation was included. Until after or even after launch, the date and purpose of the overwhelming bulk of missions would remain concealed. It is planned that civilian missions will have Fengyun weather satellites, a New Generation Recoverable Satellite and observation satellites for Gaofen Earth.  Yaogan remote sensing reconnaissance satellites, as well as other national defense satellite designations, are possible. Other launches might also have the commercial remote sensing satellites Hainan-1 and Satellogic.

China performed 39 launches in the year 2020 with CASC in charge of 34 of these, making it the world’s most successful launch operator, ahead of SpaceX which has 25. These included deployments of the Long March 5B, the Tianwen-1 Mars mission, the Long March 8 medium-lift booster as China’s first autonomous interplanetary flight, and Chang’e-5 lunar sample return preparation for space station releases and a conceptual new-generation crew spacecraft.

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