China Building a New Spacecraft For Manned Moon Mission

James Marshall
March 12, 2017

The launch will involve new challenges for China in sample collection, taking off from the moon and high-speed reentry to the Earth's atmosphere, making it "one of China's most complicated and hard space missions", Hu Hao, an official from China's Lunar Exploration Programme, told the paper.

Currently, only the Orion spacecraft from the USA - which is being developed by the ESA and NASA - is equipped for a moon landing operation and is anticipated to ferry astronauts to the space in the next six years. This craft will apparently be able to carry up to six members in the lower orbit of Earth and almost three or four astronauts during a moon landing operation per Zhang.

China's Shenzhou space capsule used on all six of its crewed missions is based on Russia's Soyuz and is capable of carrying three astronauts in its re-entry module.

China first landed an unmanned craft on the moon in December 2013. In its most recent crewed mission, two astronauts spent a month aboard a Chinese space station late previous year.

It will take about five years to implement a fully-operational space station with a permanent crew, according to reports.

Last year Beijing surpassed Moscow's 17 rocket launches with 22, equaling the United States for the first time, according to Jonathan McDowell, a Harvard University-based astrophysicist. Russian Federation had 17 launches, while the USA might have had several more if Space X's Falcon 9 rocket fleet hadn't been grounded following a September 1 launchpad explosion.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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