China aims to operate regular space flights by 2045, official says

China aims to set up a space programme operating thousands of flights a year and carrying tens of thousands of tons of cargo and passengers by 2045, state news agency Xinhua quoted an official as saying on Friday.

BEIJING, Sept 18 (Reuters) - China aims to set up a space programme operating thousands of flights a year and carrying tens of thousands of tons of cargo and passengers by 2045, state news agency Xinhua quoted an official as saying on Friday.

China is trying to catch up with Russia and the United States to become a major space power by 2030.

Bao Weimin, a senior official at China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp., told a conference that the planned space flight system would be able to meet commercial demands, according to the Xinhua report.

He also said China is aiming for breakthroughs in the core technology needed and for the building of a testing system by 2025.

China has taken steps in recent years to make space flights more economical. It is developing reusable rockets such as Long March 8 and 9, and it successfully launched and landed a reusable spacecraft this month.

(Reporting by Liangping Gao and Yew Lun Tian; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

((Gao.Liangping@thomsonreuters.com;))

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