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China to launch 21 rockets, 30 satellites in 2012

China will launch more rockets and satellites into space in 2012, reported Tuesday citing the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).

The main contractor for the Chinese space program said during its annual meeting that they will blast off 21 rockets and 30 satellites in the coming year.

Shenzhou 9 is also expected to rendezvous and dock with Tiangong 1, and China will export its first remote sensing satellite to Venezuela among many other aerospace tasks in 2012.

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Space docking tops scientific achievements

BEIJING - China announced on Tuesday its top 10 scientific achievements in 2011, with the success of its first space docking mission that was completed two months ago topping the list.

The unmanned Shenzhou-III spacecraft was launched on November 1 last year and returned safely to earth on November 17 after completing the country's first space docking with the target module Tiangong-1, which was launched on September 29.
The country had never before joined two spacecraft together in space.

Tiangong-I entered into long-term operation management in space on November 18, and is preparing for two more docking missions planned for 2012.

The acquisition of the space docking technology is vital for China to implement the three-phase development strategy of its manned space program and to promote the sustained development of its manned space cause, according to Wu Ping, a spokeswoman for China's manned space program.

China plans to establish its own space lab around 2016 and a manned space station around 2020.

Out of a total of 233 scientific achievements of 2011 that were submitted to contend for the annual top 10 list, 31 made it onto the shortlist.

The final entries to the top 10 list were chosen according to voting by academics from the country's premier research organizations, including the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

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