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China targets 40-plus launches in ’21

The new colonial movement: China’s space agency announced today that it is aiming to complete at least 40 launches in 2021.

A terse summary of the report in a CASC press release (Chinese) stated that missions related to the Chinese Space Station complex would be among the planned 40-plus launches. Recent reports state that the space station core module will be launched in the coming months, followed by the Tianzhou-2 cargo vessel and Shenzhou-12 crewed missions. The missions will require Long March 5B and Long March 7 launches from Wenchang and a Long March 2F launch from Jiuquan in the Gobi Desert.

Other major highlighted activities include the Tianwen-1 Mars spacecraft, which is due to enter Mars orbit around Feb. 10 with a rover landing attempt to follow in May. Development work will focus on the two experiment modules for the Chinese Space Station and, notably, crewed lunar exploration. No further details on the latter were provided but earlier indications are available.

Assuming they experience no major launch failures, 2021 should be a ground-breaking year for China.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

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