China space program will get busy with moon missions and a space station

China space program has several moon missions over the next few years, a three-module space station by 2022, robotic mission to Mars and more.

China will help launch Pakistani astronauts in 2022.

China will try to land a robot rover mission to the dark side of the moon. Chang’e 4 mission will set up an experimental lunar base to trial growing potatoes for food. Chang’e 4 is to be launched in December 2018. It will have an orbiter, a robotic lander and rover. It was originally planned for a 2015 launch.

A Long March 3B rocket will launch it.

Orbiter: 425 kg
Lander: 1,200 kg
Rover: 120 kg

Landing mass Total: ~1,200 kg; rover: 120 kg

The relay satellite has a mass of 425 kg, and it will use a 4.2-meter antenna to receive X band signals from the lander and rover, and relay them to Earth control on the S band.

The proposed landing site is the crater Von Kármán (180 km diameter) in the South Pole-Aitken Basin on the far side of the Moon. The crater contains about 10% by weight iron oxide (FeO) and 4-5 parts per million of thorium. Thorium can replacement for uranium as nuclear fuel.

Chang’e 5 is a robotic Chinese lunar exploration mission currently under development. It is targeting a Moon landing in 2019. It was delayed from a 2017 launch. Chang’e 5 will be China’s first sample return mission, aiming to return at least 2 kilograms of lunar soil and rock samples back to the Earth.

Chang’e 6 is an unmanned Chinese lunar exploration mission currently speculated to be under development, which is expected to land on the Moon in 2024. Chang’e 6 will be China’s second sample return mission.

China was making preliminary preparations for a manned lunar landing mission around 2036. China wants to use robots to build a permanent base ahead of a manned mission.

By 2020, China will land a robot mission on Mars.

By 2022, Chinese will have a space station that is one-fifth the mass of the International Space Station. It will be about the size of the decommissioned Russian Mir space station. The Chinese station will weigh about 80 to 100 metric tons. The Tianhe-1 core module will launch in 2020.

China is working on building a space-based solar power array.

China will revamp its rockets. They will develop a heavy-lift rocket and reusable rockets.

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