China will launch a further four space probes before 2021 as part of the efforts to develop space science, according to the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence Friday.
The China-Italy Electromagnetic Monitoring Experiment Satellite will be launched this August to study phenomena related to earthquakes from space.
The China-France Oceanography Satellite is expected to be launched in 2018. It will study ocean-surface wind and waves to improve forecasts for ocean waves and strengthen disaster prevention and mitigation.
An astronomical satellite jointly developed by China and France will be launched in 2021 to study gamma rays and provide data for research in dark energy and the evolution of the universe.
China plans to launch the country's first Mars probe in 2020, which is expected to orbit the red planet, land and deploy a rover in just one mission.
These will be the major probes in the country's space program in the coming years, following Thursday's launch of the country's first X-ray space telescope, the Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope.
The X-ray probe, dubbed Insight, was launched to observe compact objects such as black holes or neutron stars. It is expected to push forward the development of space astronomy and improve space X-ray detection technology in China.
Zhao Jian, deputy director of the administration's system engineering department, said the telescope boasted a wider band, larger detection area and broader field of view for observation, making it possible for China to make breakthroughs in space technology.
Zhao said over the past 50-plus years, China's space industry had started from scratch and grown into a field covering space astronomy, space physics, solar exploration, microgravity and space life.
In the coming years, China will also continue lunar missions, consider exploration to the Jupiter system, and do more research in enhanced X-ray Timing and the Polarimetry mission.
"China is open to more international collaboration in space science," Zhao said. "China will actively conduct international cooperation in areas including lunar and Mars probes, manned space missions and space environment exploration.
"China would also like to lead international cooperation in some major projects and actively participate in major international space science programs," Zhao said.