China plans to launch Taiji-2 satellite before 2024: chief scientist

China plans to launch Taiji-2, a satellite to conduct in-orbit experiments on key technologies related to space-based gravitational wave detection, before 2024, Wu Yueliang, chief scientist of the Taiji program, said on Friday.

Taiji-1, China's first satellite in the program, was launched in August 2019 and has been performing well in orbit, said Wu, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), at the ongoing 2020 China Space Conference held in Fuzhou, capital of east China's Fujian Province.

"Taiji-1 has taken the fundamental step in China's gravitational wave detection. Its experimental results have verified the correctness and the feasibility of the whole Taiji program," Wu added.

CAS set out a three-step strategy to implement the Taiji program. It took a research team about one year to develop Taiji-1. Two satellites are expected to be launched in the second step and three more in the third step.

The development of regular spacecraft flights in China was also envisioned on Friday during the conference.

Bao Weimin, an academician of CAS, said that he envisions China will be able to operate regular spacecraft flights by 2045.

The regular flights will include one-hour routes between global destinations, transportation between ground and orbit, and routes between orbits, he said.

By 2045, China is expected to operate over 1,000 spacecraft flights per year, transporting a total of 10,000 tonnes of freight and 10,000 passengers, said Bao, who is also director of the Committee of Science and Technology under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.

By that time, the overall performance of China's spacecraft flight industry will have reached a world-class level, he added.

(Cover image via CFP)

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency