China is accelerating the pace of its space program. The country recently launched two launches in three days, starting from two different bases and placing three satellites in orbit.
The first launch took place last Friday (3), when a Long March 4B rocket took off from the Taiyuan satellite launch center in Shanxi province. On board were two satellites: one called Gaofen, designed for remote sensing for civilian purposes, and another called Xibaipo, created to popularize the space among young people.
Long March Rocket 4B takes off with the Gaofen and Xibaipo satellites on board. Photo: CASC
According to CASC (China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation), a state-owned company that is primarily responsible for executing the Chinese eospace program, Gaofen can “provide highly accurate images for use in mapping, surveying natural resources, emergency management, agriculture, monitoring environmental, civil construction and reforestation “, among other areas.
Xibaipo can send and receive images and voice, as well as serving as a platform for experiments carried out by students. China aims to consolidate its position as a space power, and for that it needs to encourage its students to pursue careers related to science and technology, thus creating the specialized workforce that will be needed in future projects.
Two days after the launch in Taiyuan, a 2D Long March rocket left the Jiuquan satellite launch center in the northwest of the country, carrying the second satellite of the Shiyan-6 family, which according to CASC will be used to “study the environment of the space and carry out related technological experiments “whose nature has not been specified.
Long Brand 2D Rocket takes off with the Shiyan satellite on board. Photo: CASC
On July 23, China plans to launch the Tianwen-1 mission to Mars. The objective is to place a satellite with six observation instruments in orbit around the planet, in addition to landing an exploration vehicle (rover) with six more instruments to study the planet’s surface.
If all goes well, this will be the first Chinese mission to reach Mars. In 2011, the Yinghuo-1 satellite was lost when the Russian Zenit rocket used in the launch failed to put the Phobos-Grunt mission equipment in the correct orbit.
China has already sent two Lua satellites and rovers and has plans to start, in early 2021, the launch of the first components for the construction of a space station. The country recently revealed details of a new manned spacecraft to replace the current design based on the Russian Soyuz capsule, and launched the latest satellite in its global positioning system, an alternative to GPS called Beidou.