China to launch 15 to 16 satellites in 2009: Official

March 9th, 2009 - 3:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, March 9 (Xinhua) China plans to launch 15 to 16 satellites this year, an official said here Monday.
“Though the global financial crisis is taking a toll on the world economy, it has no impact on China’s space programmes,” said Zhang Jianqi, deputy chief commander of the manned space project.

Zhang said China is at present “batch-producing” three spacecraft - Shenzhou-8, Shenzhou-9 and Shenzhou-10.

“This is the first time for the country to conduct researches and production on three spacecraft at the same time,” Zhang, a deputy to the National People’s Congress (NPC), the country’s top legislature, told the media.

China plans to launch Tiangong-1, an unmanned space module, into orbit by the end of 2010, he said.

The country plans to launch the Shenzhou-8 and Shenzhou-9 spacecraft in 2011.

Zhang said the country is selecting a new batch of taikonauts, which may include the country’s first female taikonaut.

China has sent an average of eight satellites into space annually during the first two years of its 11th five-year-plan (2006-2010), figures from the China Academy of Space Technology show.

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