China’s Space Plans In Full Swing10th Jun 2023
China has almost completed its basic model for the ambitious phase-four lunar probe missions announced a year ago. The chief designer of China’s lunar exploration program has expressed his confidence that Chinese people will be on the moon by 2030. China’s space plans are a core part of today’s space race.
Chinese people on the Moon? “That’s not a problem”
A year ago, it was announced by the China National Space Administration that they intended to start the fourth phase of their lunar probe program. This included the construction of an international lunar research station on the moon and the launch of three missions: Chang’e-6, Chang’e-7 and Chang’e-8.
Wu Weiren, the lunar exploration program chief designer, has been speaking about the progress of the missions in an interview with China Media Group.
“By 2030, the Chinese people will definitely be able to set foot on the Moon. That’s not a problem.”
Wu stated that we can expect the Chang’e-6 mission to take place in 2024. This will involve heading to the far side of the Moon and retrieving lunar soil samples. This will represent the first time humans have gathered soil samples from the far side of the earth’s natural satellite.
“We hope to find water there”
After Change’e-6, Change’e-7 will be deployed, landing on the moon’s south pole to search for traces of water.
We can then expect the launch of Chang’e-8 in 2028. This will work with the Change’e-7, laying the foundations for a lunar research station to be built on the south pole of the Moon. This station will facilitate a number of experiments on the use and exploration of lunar resources.
The China & U.S. space race is hotting up
Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator, as admitted that China and the United States are engaged in a space race. He’s further commented on China’s space plans, stating that NASA want to protect the water on the Moon so they can stop China from claiming it as their own.
Nelson has stated that, although he’s confident the U.S. will win the race, he’s worried about the quest to find water on the south pole.
“We want to preserve those potential reserves for the international community, and prevent China from coming in and saying that the water is theirs, as they have done with the Spratly Islands.”