China's Xichang set for 20 space launches in 2020
A Long March-3A carrier rocket carrying two satellites of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) blasts off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Xichang, southwest China's Sichuan Province, on Dec. 16, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]
The Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province will host around 20 launch missions in 2020, including two satellites of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), according to an official from the center.
Wang Zemin, deputy director of the launch center, made the remarks after China successfully sent two BDS satellites into space from Xichang on Monday.
The BDS is a global navigation satellite system independently constructed and operated by China. So far, all BDS satellites were launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.
Since the first BDS test satellite was sent into space in 2000, Xichang has fulfilled 42 BDS satellite launch missions with a success rate of 100 percent, said Wang.
Established in 1970, the Xichang Satellite Launch Center is one of three major space launch centers in China. It has sent more than 160 spacecraft into their preset orbits through 142 launches, making it the country's largest launch site.
According to Wang, since Xichang became China's first space launch site to be awarded a quality management system certification in 2016, it has been meticulously operating its integrated management system and making efforts to improve its launch capacity.
The Xichang Satellite Launch Center has increased its launch capacity to 20 missions a year from two to three launches a year in the past, he noted.
In recent years, the launch center has entered a period of high-density launches. It achieved 13 successful launch missions in 2019 after completing double-digit launch missions in 2018 for the first time.
A new launch pad for next-generation rockets is currently under construction at the center.