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A New Dawn for China's Space Scientists

Science  29 Jun 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6089, pp. 1630-1637
DOI: 10.1126/science.336.6089.1630

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It's a new dawn for China's space scientists. Over the next several years, China plans to launch five scientific space missions, including a dark-matter probe and an attempt at long-distance quantum communication. Four more innovative missions are in the design stage, Science has learned: an x-ray telescope to study black holes, a solar imager that would swing high above and far below the line of sight between Earth and the sun, a space-based very-long-baseline interferometer tuned to long-millimeter wavelengths, and a four-satellite cluster to study coupling of the magnetosphere, ionosphere, and thermosphere. Scientific payloads are being assembled for Tiangong 1 and for two more Tiangong modules, including a crewed space laboratory, which China plans to launch in the next 3 years. And scientists are designing experiments for the future space station.

  • * With reporting by Bu Kai and Zhang Dongdong.