China is taking over the space market

Tiangong-1, launched in September 2011.

China’s space programme has been increasing at incredible velocities in the past decade or so, and by all accounts it will continue to increase in the foreseeable future. They recently became number two concerning satellite launches, launching a total of 19 satellites in 2011, beating the US which launched a total of 18, but still behind Russia with 36 launches. As USA’s space program continue to drop both when it comes to budget and launches, China will likely stay in the very top, possible even beating Russia in the upcoming years.

The Chinese now estimate launching 30 satellites with 21 rockets in 2012, and staying at an average of 20 launches per year until 2015. At the same time, their Tiangong-1 space module was launched in 2011, hopefully to be followed up by larger Tiangong-2 and Tiangong-3 modules in the next few years. The real trials of Chinese manned space docking will start in 2012, and if successful the Tiangong programme will be in the size of the ISS within a decade.

The dragon is rising.

BBC (image source) · Space Daily

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