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China’s Space Ambitions Expand with Significant Increase in Rocket Launches


China has unveiled ambitious plans for its space missions in 2024, aiming for a record 100 launches, solidifying its position as the world’s second-most active launcher behind SpaceX. This represents a more than 40% increase from the previous year.

The country’s premier space contractor, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp., is set to conduct almost 70 missions, deploying over 290 satellites and spacecraft into orbit.

These missions will include the first flight of the Long March-12 rocket, two crewed missions to the Chinese space station, and the launch of an astronomical satellite jointly developed by China and France.

China Rocket Launch (Credits:

In addition, China plans to launch the Chang’e-6 probe to the South Pole-Aitken Basin on the far side of the moon, returning to Earth with samples. China made history in 2019 by becoming the first country to land on the moon’s far side.

The country’s space activities are not limited to government-led missions, as startups like LandSpace Technology Corp. and Orienspace are playing an increasingly significant role.

LandSpace sent the world’s first methane-fueled rocket into orbit last year, while Orienspace conducted its first orbital launch recently and aims to introduce a reusable rocket next year.

To support these private-sector endeavors, China is constructing a new launch complex in Hainan specifically designed for commercial missions. The center is expected to be operational by the end of June.

China’s long-term goal includes its first crewed lunar mission before 2030. NASA’s Artemis program, led by the United States, is aiming for a crewed lunar mission in 2026.

These developments underscore the intensifying competition in space exploration, particularly between China and the U.S., as both countries seek to achieve significant milestones in lunar exploration.

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