CASC, China’s largest space contractor, unveils new launch vehicle capable of sending Chinese people to the Moon by around 2030

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The Long March-5 Y5 carrier rocket ordered for the Chang’e-5 lunar mission has started fuel injection and is expected to launch the probe on November 24, 2020, between 4 and 5 a.m., at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in the province of Hainan (southern China). . Photo: CGV

China’s next-generation manned rocket, currently under development, will have the capability to send taikonauts to the Moon by around 2030, the Global Times has learned from Chinese space giant China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC). .

A CASC spokesperson made the remarks to the media after the Long March 2D carrier rocket smoothly launched the Yaogan-35 04 remote sensing satellite cluster early Saturday morning, which saw the Long March series of rockets from the country break its own record with 103 consecutive successes in space. launch missions.

According to the ACCS spokesperson, the country’s super-heavy launch vehicle, which is also under development, will be further enhanced to become capable of sending 50-tonne payloads to the Earth-Moon transfer orbit at the end, in order to support the lunar future activity.

The CASC is also working on a series of reusable space launch and transport systems, which will greatly enhance the country’s space shuttle capability, reducing costs and promoting future development in this field, the spokesperson said, according to a statement the CCAC provided to the Global Times.

Meanwhile, the United States is busy preparing for the launch of the huge Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, which is expected to take place on the morning of August 29. [US local time] from the US Kennedy Space Center for the Artemis I mission – the first test of NASA’s deep space exploration systems.

The Artemis I, according to the US space center, will be the first in a series of missions aimed at demonstrating NASA’s ability to extend human existence to the Moon and beyond.

The first crewed flight in the American series, the Artemis III, will see boots on the lunar surface no earlier than 2026, more than half a century since NASA successfully sent humans to the moon in December 1972 as part of the Apollo 17 mission.

US website space.com pointed out in a post on Friday that the 2026 mission is still “highly uncertain” given the mission is relatively far away, but NASA has preliminary planning for the late 2020s.

The timing of these missions largely depends on the funding the agency receives from the US Congress, as well as the technical progress of the Artemis program, according to the report.

Even if NASA were able to pull off the ambitious plan, it would already be a two-year delay as the US space agency abandoned its original goal of sending humans to the moon by 2024.

Comparing China’s and the United States’ manned moon landing plans, Chinese space experts pointed out that the US practice of setting specific annual deadlines is very rare in the industry, given the complex nature of deep space exploration, while China is more focused on technological maturity in a fairly broad period of time, moving forward steadily and steadily.

China’s crewed moon landing is more in line with scientific principles, but NASA could become more hostile to China in space given the enormous pressure it faces to maintain its global leadership in lunar exploration , Wang Ya’nan, editor of the Beijing-based Aerospace Knowledge magazine, told the Global Times on Sunday when asked if there will be a new space race between the space powers around 2030.

NASA chief Bill Nelson warned in July of a new ‘space race’ with China, in a baseless accusation that China wants to ‘occupy the moon’, citing the research base moon that China and Russia are co-constructing, which he is “very concerned about.”

It is very likely that to achieve the objectives of the Artemis mission, given its tight schedule, NASA will further open access to the management of the International Space Station (ISS) to commercial space actors such as SpaceX after 2024, as Russia warned him. its intention to withdraw from the ISS by that year and redirect its efforts and resources to its lunar plans, Wang noted.

Space watchers have also pointed out that as NASA strives to relive its Apollo glories, China is working on innovative plans to carry out its own crewed moon landing missions.

Even without the new generation of manned rockets and super-heavy launchers, Chinese rocket scientist Long Lehao ​​revealed in August 2021, China could use two rocket launches to send two astronauts to the moon around 2030.

Long, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and chief designer of the Long March rockets, said in a speech that China plans to use new variants of the Long March-5 launch vehicle – the most powerful member of the Long March rocket family – to carry out manned space launch missions.

Long called the new variant Long March-5 DY, which means “dengyue”, which means “lunar landing” in Chinese.

Two rockets carrying a lunar lander and a next-generation manned spacecraft will be launched for the mission, and the two parts of the spacecraft will meet and dock in near-lunar orbit, before executing the landing process. The two taikonauts are expected to work on the moon’s surface for about six hours, according to Long. However, there is no mention of a specific landing site.

The new manned spacecraft will then lift off from the Moon and perform another docking with the orbiting module before returning to Earth.

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