China finished building its own space station and launched 64 orbital rockets last year. However, the country has even bigger plans for the year 2023.
CASC, China’s primary space contractor and manufacturer of Long March rockets, announced on January 18 that it is planning to launch over 60 missions and 200 spacecraft this year. China has revealed in a recent blue paper report that big-ticket missions like the Tianzhou-6, the Shenzhou-16, and the Shenzhou-17 flight missions will give the country’s space science activities a significant boost in 2023 and further strengthen its Tiangong space station’s position.
Although only a small number of the planned missions are listed in the manifest, CASC intends to launch more than 200 spacecraft altogether. The organization will expedite this year’s construction of a commercial remote-sensing satellite system in addition to launching these missions. Three backup satellite launches will also take place simultaneously in the BeiDou-3 Navigation Satellite System.
In addition, Long March 5, the country’s largest rocket, will also return to action for the first time since 2020. The massive Long March 5 launch from the coastal Wenchang spaceport on Hainan island will draw crowds, despite the fact that the majority of China’s launches take place indoors and are not open to the public. China’s 64 launches in 2022 put it second behind just the US. According to CASC, China launched 217.39 tons (197.21 metric tons) of payload into orbit in 2022, while the United States launched 809.59 tons (734.45 metric tons).