BEIJING, April 17 (Xinhua) -- China's aerospace progress has a close connection with the country's economic and social development and helps improve people's lives, said an official with the China National Space Administration (CNSA) Wednesday.
More than 1 billion people check the weather forecast based on data sent back by China's Fengyun meteorological satellites every day, said Zhao Jian, deputy director of the Department of System Engineering of CNSA, at a press conference about China's Space Day, which falls on April 24.
The new generation Fengyun-4 geostationary meteorological satellite, which is able to generate a regional image every minute, plays an important role in weather forecasts and early warning and monitoring of natural disasters, Zhao said.
China's Gaofen-4, which is a high-resolution Earth observation satellite operating on the geosynchronous orbit, is capable of covering the country's whole area in four to 12 minutes, capturing the rapid trend of disasters such as forest fires, floods and typhoons to provide information for disaster prevention and control.
China's BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) started to provide global service at the end of 2018. Nearly 100 million BDS terminals have been applied in smartphones, tablet computers, wearable devices and automobiles, according to Zhao.
Statistics show that the development of 80 percent of the nearly 2,000 new materials in China in recent years were driven by space technologies.
The ignition technology of the Beijing Olympic Games' torch, air-cushioned sports shoes and the sealing technology of automobile engines all came from space technologies, said Zhao.
In addition, technologies gained from developing the "heart" of rockets are helping China, one of the world's major coal consumers, use coal more cleanly and efficiently.
The rapid integration of space information with big data, cloud computing and the internet will greatly improve information development, Zhao added.
In 2018, China completed 38 launches, sending a total of 104 spacecraft into space, ranking a global first for the highest number of successful launches.
China plans to send more than 50 spacecraft into space via over 30 launches in 2019, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation said earlier this year.
The major missions this year include the third Long March-5 rocket, currently the largest carrier rocket of China, to be launched in July.
If the flight is successful, the fourth Long March-5 carrier rocket will be tasked to send the Chang'e-5 lunar probe to the moon to bring lunar samples back to Earth at the end of 2019.
China will also launch 10 BDS satellites this year, which will help complete the BDS global network by 2020.
China joined the space club on April 24, 1970, when the Long March-1 carrier rocket launched the country's first satellite, Dongfanghong-1, into orbit.
It took 37 years for China's Long March rockets to complete the first 100 launches, 7.5 years to complete the second 100 launches, and only about four years to accomplish the final 100, with the average number of launches per year increasing from 2.7 to 13.3 and then to 23.5.
Since 2016, China has set April 24 as the country's Space Day.
The various activities on Space Day have become a window for Chinese public and the world to get a better understanding of China's aerospace progress.
The theme of this year's activities is to "pursue space dreams for win-win cooperation." And the main venue will be in Changsha, capital of central China's Hunan Province. At the same time, space forums and exhibitions will be held across China.