China’s four-ton lander entered lunar orbit on Wednesday. They should be landing on the moon January 3rd, 2019. If the landing and operation is successful, this will be the first time a lunar rover lands on the far side of the moon.
China has another satellite in lunar orbit to relay communications from Earth to the rover. The Queqiao relay satellite is at the second Lagrange point (L2).
China plans to launch Chang’e-5 in 2019. It would be an unmanned lunar sample return mission.
China plans a permanent robotic lunar outpost in about 10 years. There could be European Space Agency partnership with China’s moon base.
China’s manned moon mission could be around 2035.
They have a steady space program that does not shift. They are the tortoise to the US hare.
If US commercial space continues to make massive progress, then the race for achievements with manned and unmanned missions will be with SpaceX and other New Space companies.
At the inaugural Morgan Stanley Space Summit Wednesday, 10 out of the 12 presenters believed China will be the next to put a human on the moon, before the US.
— Eric Berger (@SciGuySpace) December 12, 2018
The US unmanned missions and bases can be set up by commercial companies before 2025.
A SpaceX Super Heavy Starship could land manned missions on the moon before 2030.