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9.29.20
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China Powers Through the Coronavirus to Launch a Mars Mission

March 12th 20__Dan Robitzski__Filed Under: Hard Science
Xinhua

Plugging Away

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, China is still working towards its upcoming mission to Mars — and still expects to launch in July as planned.

While the workforce at various space agency facilities have been hit by the COVID-19 outbreak in China, Space.com reports that teams are still working to manufacture and test both spacecraft and launch vehicles for the upcoming mission. And in the absence of official news to the contrary, the mission seems like it’s still on track.

Grounded

That doesn’t mean China’s space industry is unaffected, though. For instance, Expace, a launch vehicle manufacturer, operates out of Wuhan, the pandemic’s epicenter, which is still under lockdown.

The company was expected to launch up to five rockets before June, but that now seems increasingly unlikely in the face of the ongoing quarantine.

Bold Plans

Even with Expace taking hits, China still expects to launch more than 40 rockets this year, according to Space.com.

That may change, as the future of the COVID-19 pandemic remains difficult to predict, and there are only four months until the launch. But thus far, it would seem that space exploration is alive and well in China.

READ MORE: China’s Mars mission likely still on track for July launch despite coronavirus outbreak [Spcae.com]

More on China’s space program: China Unveils Plan to Send Astronauts to Mars