5 Ways China Emerged As A Top Player Of Space Exploration In 2016

First Posted: Dec 22, 2016 03:00 AM EST

2016 was a good year for China's space exploration endeavors. The nation successfully launched various space and space-related projects in its aim to become a leading space explorer during the course of the year, and this is just the beginning. The world's second-largest economy has set its eyes upon more huge space missions like creating a permanent space station by 2022.

1. Launched World's First Quantum Communication Satellite

Earlier this year, China became the first country in the world to successfully launch a quantum satellite into space. The 631 kg satellite is reportedly going to change the face of cryptography. The satellite has ultra-high security features that facilitate hack-proof communications between space and ground.

2. Constructed World's Largest Single-Dish Telescope Gigantic Chinese Telescope

China completed the construction of the world's largest single-dish tele­scope in September this year. The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) has joined the search for intelligent extraterrestrials that could be building an alien megastructure around the star KIC 8462852, also called Tabby's Star.

3. Launched the Long March 5 Rocket Considered among the World's most powerful

The space mission of the nation also launched the Long March 5 rocket, which is one of the world's most powerful rockets in 2016. It is meant to send heavy-duty planetary probes, rovers and people into space. The launch of the rocket also brought the country one step closer to building its own space station in Earth's orbit.

4. Two Chinese Astronauts Broke Their Country's Record of Longest Space Mission

Two astronauts from China broke their country's record for the longest-duration space mission. The duo spent a month aboard the Tiangong 2 space laboratory in October and November 2016.

5. China's Space Mission Successfully Grew Embryos in Space

A successful experiment done aboard China's recoverable satellite SJ-10 this year proved that early‐stage mammal embryos can be developed in space. The research, considered a breakthrough in human space exploration, carried out on the country's first microgravity satellite pioneered the way to show that cells can successfully multiply in space. More than 6,000 mouse embryos were carried in the SJ-10. This may not have been the first attempt to develop embryos in space but it was definitely the first mission that led to successful results.

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