China plans record 100 space launches in 2024, including lunar and station missions

SpaceWar.com reports: “Underscoring China’s escalating ambitions in outer space, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp (CASC), the state-owned backbone of the nation’s space endeavors, has unveiled plans to execute over 100 launches throughout 2024. This schedule, announced at a recent news conference in Beijing, will set a new high in the volume of space launches conducted by China in a single year.

CASC is tasked with conducting nearly 70 of these missions, which include the deployment of over 290 spacecraft into various orbits. Among the missions outlined by Ma Tao, deputy head of CASC’s space program planning department, are two crewed flights and two cargo missions to the Tiangong space station, the Chang’e 6 mission aimed at retrieving samples from the moon’s far side, and the inaugural launches of the Long March 6C and Long March 12 carrier rockets.

The Chang’e 6 mission will collect the first-ever samples from the moon’s lesser-known far side that will enhance our understanding of the moon’s composition and geological history. This endeavor is especially notable given the far side’s unexplored terrain and the technical challenges involved in such a mission.

CASC’s 2024 launch lineup will predominantly feature the Long March rocket family, a series that has become synonymous with China’s space missions. Additional launches are planned using the Smart Dragon secondary rocket series, the Kuaizhou fleet from China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp, and several rockets from private sector entities. This diversified launch strategy not only demonstrates CASC’s comprehensive capabilities but also underscores the collaborative efforts within China’s space sector to achieve these ambitious goals…”

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