(ORDO NEWS) — In the next 5 years, the Chinese space program will be even busier than it was in the previous 5 years.
On Friday, January 28, the country published an official document describing plans and priorities in space exploration for the next 5 years. Recently, China has made great strides in the space field, from returning lunar samples to Earth to starting assembling a space station – and from this new document called “China’s Space Program: A 2021 Perspective” it becomes clear that the country is not going to
China launched 207 space missions between 2016 and 2021, the paper says, an impressive number, but the country is unhappy with its current fleet of space rockets .
“Over the next 5 years, China will continue to increase the capacity and performance of its space transportation system and make rocket improvements even faster,” the document says. “Further expansion of the missile fleet will be made, new generation manned launch vehicles and high-thrust solid rockets will be sent into space, and the development of heavy rockets will be accelerated.”
China launched the Tianhe module of its new space station into space in April 2021, sent astronauts to the station, and now plans to complete construction of the station this year with the launch of two more modules, Mengtian and Wentian.
In addition, China is building a space telescope called Xuntian, which will be launched into the same orbit as the space station and will periodically dock with it. The telescope will be launched within the next 5 years.
The country’s plans for robotic space exploration include the launch of the Chang’e-6 mission to return samples from the circumpolar region of the lunar surface; the launch of the Chang’e-7 mission to search for water in lunar craters; and the development of key technologies for the Chang’e-8 mission, which will help establish a research base on the moon.
China will also launch a mission (called Zhenghe) that will return samples from the asteroid and study the comet at close range, according to the document. And that’s not all.
Over the next five years, the country will also “complete key research into the technology of taking samples from the surface of Mars and returning them to Earth, exploring the Jupiter system, and even reaching the boundaries of the solar system,” the document says.
“Reaching the limits of the solar system” means launching two twin probes to the edge of the heliosphere – and further into interstellar space. China is planning this mission for the mid-2020s.
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