For the first time in the history of space exploration, China beat Russia on the number of space launches in a given period of time, a rocket engine manufacturer said on Wednesday.
China conducted 10 of the world’s total 35 launches in the first six months of 2012, Russia’s NPO Energomash said on its website.
Russia was second with nine launches, followed by the United States with eight launches, the report said.
The list also included multinational companies Arianespace with three launches and Sea Launch with one launch, as well as India, Iran, Japan and North Korea, each of which attempted to send one satellite into orbit so far this year, the report said.
Energomash provided engines for 13 launches, or 37 percent of the world’s total in 2012, said the company, which manufactures engines for Proton and Soyuz rockets.
China has been making significant headway with its space program since the 2000s. It first sent a man into orbit in 2003, conducted its first spacewalk in 2008 and its first manned spacecraft docking in June. Further plans include a permanent space station and manned flights to the moon and Mars.