China: China launched two satellites, Shiyan-4 and Chuangxin 1-03. The Chuangxin 1-03 satellite is developed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. It aims to collect and relay water conservation, hydrological and meteorological data, plus data for disaster relief efforts.
On the other hand, the Shiyan-4 satellite is developed by the Chinese Research Institute of Space Technology. It is an experimental satellite which will study the earth’s environment and test new space technologies.
These launches came after China’s unmanned spacecraft Shenzhou VIII returned to Earth after completing two space dockings that have pushed forward the nation’s plan to build a space station by 2020. Shenzhou VIII, which means “divine vessel” in Chinese, took off from northwest China on November 1, and docked with the Tiangong-1 experimental module twice in the nation’s first ever “kiss” in space.
China sees its space programme as a symbol of its global stature, growing technical expertise, and the Communist Party’s success in turning around the fortunes of the once poverty-stricken nation.
China is expected to launch two more spacecraft next year to dock with Tiangong-1 — the Shenzhou IX and Shenzhou X — at least one of which will carry astronauts on board.
Source: Space Daily