US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — China plans to send four space missions with a crew and the same number of cargo ships to complete work on its permanent space station in about two years, officials said after launching a new spacecraft aboard the latest heavy-lift rocket.
The announcement of its space program further strengthens China’s desire to compete with the United States, Europe, Russia and private companies in space exploration.
The unmanned spacecraft and its returning capsule were sent into space aboard the Long March 5B rocket during its debut flight on Tuesday evening from the Wenchang launch site in Hainan.
The capsule is reportedly an advanced Shenzhou capsule based on the Soyuz model of the former Soviet Union, and may contain six astronauts, rather than three as it is now.
Earlier, China launched an experimental space station, which later crashed in the atmosphere. Currently, he plans to build a larger system in space with several modules in order to compete with the scale of the International Space Station.
The space program developing in China reached a milestone last year, landing a spaceship on the almost uncharted dark side of the moon, also plans to send a lander and a rover to Mars this summer.
The program developed rapidly, especially after its first mission with a crew in 2003. However, the United States banned most of the space cooperation with China for reasons of national security, preventing China from participating in the International Space Station project and encouraging it to gradually develop its own equipment. The new Long March 5B rocket was specifically designed to launch the modules of the future space station into orbit.
China is also one of the three countries planning a flight to Mars this summer. The United States will send a descent vehicle, China has a combined landing craft, and the United Arab Emirates ships an orbiting vehicle.
Spaceships can only be launched to Mars once every two years in order to take advantage of the best possible trajectory between the Earth and a neighboring planet.
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