China Unveils Next-Generation Spacecraft for Moon Missions at Airshow China 2021
At Airshow China 2021, China proudly showcased its next-generation spacecraft, which is set to revolutionize the nation’s space exploration ambitions. Capable of transporting astronauts to the moon and even beyond, this spacecraft marks a significant milestone in China’s space program.
Planned to be launched around 2027, the new spacecraft will play a vital role in crewed lunar missions as well as the construction of a space station. It will also enable deep-space exploration, firmly establishing China as a key player in the global space race.
According to experts, the first flights for this state-of-the-art spacecraft are predicted to occur between 2027 and 2028. To ensure its readiness, China conducted an essential test launch last year, employing a boilerplate version of the spacecraft. The successful outcome of this experiment further bolstered China’s confidence in achieving its ambitious lunar goals.
With a target of placing astronauts on the moon by 2030, the development of this spacecraft is a crucial step in realizing China’s lunar ambitions. Notably, the spacecraft will offer partial reusability, maximizing cost-effectiveness and sustainability. To facilitate its launch, China will utilize the newly designated Long March 10 rocket.
The spacecraft’s design comprises two variants: a deep-space version and a low Earth orbit variant. The former will operate in lunar transfer orbit, enabling three astronauts to explore the vastness of space. Meanwhile, the latter will transport four to seven astronauts to China’s Tiangong space station, which already boasts the impressive capability of supporting simultaneous crewed missions.
Currently, China employs the trusty Shenzhou spacecraft for sending up to three astronauts to low Earth orbit. However, this next-generation spacecraft represents a significant leap forward in China’s space exploration endeavors.
During a talk at a university, Yang Liwei, China’s first astronaut in orbit, revealed these exciting developments. The announcement not only showcases China’s technological prowess but also underscores its determination to join the ranks of the world’s leading space-faring nations.
As the launch date approaches, anticipation and excitement surrounding China’s next-generation spacecraft continue to grow. With its groundbreaking capabilities and ambitious vision, China is poised to make significant strides in lunar exploration, space station construction, and deep-space missions. The unveiling of this remarkable spacecraft marks a new era for China’s space program and propels the nation further into the realms of space exploration.