Long March-5 at the launch pad. Chinese Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP) insignia: a lunar crescent with two footprints at its center. The symbol resembles the Chinese character for “Moon.”
Credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab


A senior official at the China Manned Space Agency reports that the country is making preparations for a human Moon landing.

According to China Daily, Dong Nengli, head of the agency’s technology bureau, made the claim at a news conference at the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee in Beijing last Friday.

Dong said that space program planners and engineers are researching the road map and technologies for a crewed Moon landing.

“The results of their work will be seen in due course. Our astronauts will definitely touch down on the Moon,” Dong told reporters.

Credit: CCTV-Plus

Long-term plan

The China Daily report also adds that China’s space authorities have a long-term plan to land astronauts on the Moon and set up at least one scientific station on the lunar surface. By using crewed lunar missions, the intent is to carry out scientific surveys and technological research, explore ways to develop lunar resources and strengthen the nation’s space capabilities.

In September 2020, Zhou Yanfei, a deputy chief designer of China’s manned space program, said that the country has the capacity to independently land astronauts on the Moon because of its technologies, well-trained, innovative professionals and efficient research and management systems.

Video conference to sign agreement on China/Russia cooperation on constructing an international scientific and research station on the Moon.
Credit: Roscosmos

Wanted: new booster

Toward that goal, Wang Yanan, editor-in-chief of Aerospace Knowledge magazine, has stated that Chinese engineers, to achieve a humans-to-the-Moon program, there’s need to build new, stronger carrier rockets and spacecraft.

“The nation’s current rockets and manned spaceships can’t send astronauts to the Moon because they are not designed for such a mission. We need to design a new rocket, a new spacecraft, a lunar landing capsule and a new spacesuit fit for a moon walk. We also need to upgrade our ground support system that was designed for operations in low-Earth orbit rather than on the lunar surface,” Wang explained.

China’s Long March-5 booster – but planting taikonauts boots on the Moon requires a bigger, more powerful booster.
Credit: CASC

Earth-Moon trajectory

Meanwhile, according to China Daily, designers at the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology are blueprinting a super-heavy rocket that will be several times bigger and more powerful than the Long March-5.

That booster would have a length of nearly 295-feet (90 meters) and have a liftoff weight of about 2,000 metric tons. The launcher would be capable of placing a 25-ton spacecraft into an Earth-Moon trajectory, designers stated, adding that this new rocket will provide the capability to boost China’s piloted Moon project into reality.

In an earlier interview with China Central Television, Chinese Academy of Sciences member Ye Peijian said: “As long as the technological research for manned moon landing continues, and as long as the country is determined, it is entirely possible for China to land people on the Moon before 2030.”

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