April 24, in honor of the launch of its first satellite in 1970, is China’s Space Day. On this occasion, the authorities of the People’s Republic of China mentioned the plans for the conquest of the Moon and recalled some of the stages planned on this path, writes China Daily.
China made the first landing on the Moon in December 2013 as part of the Chang’e 3 mission. In December 2020, the Chang’e 5 probe returned lunar soil samples to Earth. By the way, 1,731 g at once, which is almost six times more than the three Soviet automatic stations Luna-16, Luna-20 and Luna-24 together (301 g) in 1970-76. In 2030 The People’s Republic of China plans to deliver the first taikonauts for a month. But before that there will be several more important missions.
Chang’e 6 (2025) will study the topography and subsurface structure near the Moon’s South Pole and will also return soil samples to Earth.
Chang’e 7 (2026) will explore the South Pole of the Moon for resources and will include an orbiter, a relay satellite, a lander and a small flying (jet-powered, of course) probe.
The Chang’e 8 mission (2028), which will include a lander, a lunar rover and a flying probe, will be even more interesting. Chang’e 8 will attempt to 3D print a moon brick from materials it will obtain on site. In addition, a small experimental ecosystem will be located on the landing module. That is, Chang’e 8 will test the technologies necessary for the construction of a lunar scientific base.
As for the manned program, so far the PRC is only testing China’s manned spacecraft of the new generation. The test flight, during which the new capsule, parachute system, heat shield and many other components were tested, took place in May 2020. It is believed that the new ship, which will also fly to the Moon, will be ready for operation in 2025-2026. Dates of new test flights have not yet been announced.