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 China's race naar de maan infographic
Graphic shows details of China’s hardware for landing astronauts on the moon.


Chinese bemande maanmissie

By Duncan Mil

June 2, 2023 - China plans to land astronauts on the Moon before the end of the decade. The country is developing a next-generation rocket to launch an upgraded crew spacecraft while work is also underway on a lunar lander.

Lin Xiqiang, deputy director of the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA), said at a news conference at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on Monday (May 29, 2023) that the nation’s space authorities have launched the crewed lunar programme.

“The overall goals are to realise China’s first manned landing on the moon before 2030,” Lin said.

“Our astronauts will walk on the Moon, collect samples around the landing site and perform in situ research,” Lin told China Daily.

The crewed landing plan noted by Lin is for two astronauts to conduct a six-hour stay on the lunar surface, with another crew member remaining aboard a service module in lunar orbit.

Previously only referred to as the “921 rocket” or “Long March 10,” China’s upcoming super-heavy lifter has finally received its official name -- the Chang Zheng 10. CMSA expects the rocket to make its first test flight in 2027.

NASA’s Artemis programme aims to land astronauts on the Moon no earlier than 2025. Still, the space agency has struggled with the budget and timeline for its massive Moon rocket. NASA and CMSA may end up in a close race to the lunar surface.

PUBLISHED: 02/06/2023; STORY: Graphic News