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China launching spacecraft at record rate

BEIJING, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- China put a navigation satellite in orbit in the 12th space launch of the year, eclipsing its own record for most space missions in a year, authorities said.

The launch Sunday of a Long March rocket broke the country's record of 11 launches of human, scientific and military missions China set in 2008, SPACE.com reported.

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In addition to navigation satellites, China has launched three military reconnaissance satellites, a mapping satellite, a broadcasting satellite and its Chang 2 moon probe.

The record for this year could reach 15 as China plans three more launches by the end of December.

A weather satellite set for launch this month could be followed by another communications satellite and a navigation satellite before the end of the year, SPACE.com said.

The record launch rate comes as NASA and China open a joint dialogue on potential space cooperation inaugurated by NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden's visit to China last month.

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