China to Launch Mars & Moon Missions, Debut New Boosters in 2020

Long March 5 on the launch pad. (Credit: China National Space Administration)

Xinhua news agency reports China is expecting to launch more than 40 times this year, exceeding its previous high of 39 launches in 2018.

The highlights of the space activities include the launch of China’s first Mars probe, the Chang’e-5 lunar probe, which is expected to bring moon samples back to Earth, the final step of China’s current lunar exploration program, as well as the completion of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System constellation.

Three new types of carrier rockets including the Long March-5B, Long March-7A and Long March-8 will make their maiden flights in 2020.