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Thread: China's moon exploration ambitions

  1. #211
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    A well written article by Dwayne Day on China's moon ambitions in this weeks Space Review.

    http://www.thespacereview.com/article/3674/1

    Chinese astronauts were supposed to be walking on the Moon by now. Back in 2005, if you read numerous articles about the Chinese space program, you would have noticed various authors claiming that China was going to land taikonauts on the Moon in 2017, and at least one article claimed this would happen as early as 2010. Two common themes that began appearing in space articles back then were that China had an active human lunar program, and they were in a “race” with the United States to send people to the surface of the Moon, neither of which was true. Articles in The Space Review over a decade ago warned about these distortions.

  2. #212
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    They didn't put enough money on CZ-9 soon enough.

  3. #213
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    "China expected to send man to moon by 2035: observers"

    http://www.ecns.cn/news/sci-tech/201...y4244294.shtml

    With the coming 50th anniversary of the moon landing, a Chinese aerospace expert speculated that China would be able to achieve its own manned lunar landing by around 2035, establishing a permanent lunar base rather than NASA's symbolic footprint of 1969.

    Saturday marks the 50th anniversary of the first man on the moon, with posts to commemorate the historic moment going viral on Chinese social media platforms such as Sina Weibo.

    Encouraged by China's space achievements, many posted online that lunar exploration was viable in the foreseeable future.

    Among them, Wang Ya'nan, chief editor of Aerospace Knowledge magazine, speculated that China will be "technically ready" for a manned lunar landing by around 2035.

    The space expert told the Global Times Tuesday that unlike the Apollo projects with their Cold War competition between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, China's manned lunar landing, hopefully in the "decade between 2030 to 2040," would be conducted with clear and specific scientific research goals.

    Such goals include exploring the possibility of establishing a permanent moon village or base for researchers to conduct long-term scientific projects and using the natural satellite of the Earth as an energy supply hub for deeper space exploration, Wang said.

  4. #214
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    "China's Plans to Solve the Mysteries of the Moon"

    http://english.cas.cn/newsroom/news/...8_213194.shtml

    Fifty years ago, on July 20, 1969, the world watched as Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon. Since then, space agencies around the globe have sent rovers to Mars, probes to the furthest reaches of our galaxy and beyond, yet humanity’s curiosity and fascination with the Moon has never abated.

    China, in collaboration with several countries, is now at the forefront of lunar exploration. In an article published on July 18 in Science, researchers laid out what the China Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP) has accomplished since their launch in 2007 and their plans into the next three decades.

    "Fifty years after Neil Armstrong took, 'one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind' as the first human to set foot on the Moon, China's CE-4 lander and Yutu 2 rover left the footprints of humanity's first robotic visit to the surface of the far side of the Moon," said LI Chunlai, article author and the Deputy Director-General of National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academies of Science (NAOC).

    The exploration of the far side of the Moon led to the unexpected discovery of possible lunar mantle material on the surface - a potential indicator of the severity of asteroid impacts in the early days of the Moon. The Chinese missions also led to the highest resolution global image and topographic data of the Moon to date.

  5. #215
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    A good article to read. It covers China's initial moon plans and its future plans.

    https://larouchepub.com/other/2019/4...is_at_the.html

    On January 4, 2019, Eastern Standard Time, China became the first nation in the world to land a spacecraft on the far side of the Moon. Contrary to most Western media commentary, this accomplishment was not motivated by an imaginary “Asia space race,” or to obtain bragging rights in the international space community. The China Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP), made up of a series of increasingly challenging missions, is considered a key element in the economic advancement of China’s population.

  6. #216
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    "China ready to bring back some more Moon rocks"

    https://cosmosmagazine.com/space/chi...ore-moon-rocks

    Fifty years ago, when Apollo 11 blasted off from the Moon for its return to Earth, Moon-walkers Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took with them 22 kilograms of rocks – the first in a trove of 382 kilograms that would be returned by the Apollo program in the next three years.

    Since then, nobody else has walked on the Moon, and the only other samples ever brought back were 301 grams of material collected in the 1970s by a trio of Soviet missions called Luna 16, Luna 20, and Luna 24.

    Early next year, however, China is poised to be the first to fill this gap, via a robotic mission designed to land on Mons Rümker, a sprawling volcanic ediface believed to contain some of the Moon’s youngest volcanic rocks.

    The mission, called Chang’e 5 (CE-5), is part of China’s Chang’e program, named for the ancient Chinese goddess of the moon.

    In 2018 and early 2019, CE-4 and a sister mission called Queqiao landed a rover on the far side of the Moon and positioned a communication satellite in an orbit high above the Moon’s far side, where it could relay communications from the rover back to Earth. (Radio signals cannot be beamed directly to Earth from the far side, because the Moon is in the way.)

    Upcoming missions, scheduled for later in the 2020s, are intended to bring back a second sample – this one from the Moon’s south polar region – and to practise 3D printing techniques on the Moon in the hope that they can be used to help construct a permanent robotic research station, Chunlai Li of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing and colleagues wrote last week in the journal Science.

  7. #217
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    "China’s Robotic/Human Moon Plans Jell"

    https://www.leonarddavid.com/chinas-...on-plans-jell/

    China is blueprinting a plan for the country’s human exploration of the Moon.

    Chen Shanguang, deputy chief designer of China’s manned space program, outlined the plan at the 1st China Space Science Assembly held October 25-28 in Xiamen, east China’s Fujian Province.

    Reported by China’s Xinhua news agency, Chen said the objective is to explore the Moon, establish a lunar base to carry out scientific research, and accumulate technology and experience for going deeper into space.

    “The long-term goal is to send people to Mars,” Chen said. Solving the scientific problems involving human survival on the Moon could lay a foundation for human beings to go further into deep space, he added.

  8. #218
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    "Chang Zheng-5B, China's Response to the US Lunar Project"

    https://www.moondaily.com/reports/Ch...oject_999.html

    China is able to compete with the United States in the exploitation of moon resources. Successful testing of the Chang Zheng-5B heavy-lift rocket is an important step in this direction, Sergei Filipenkov, a Russian aviation and cosmonautics expert, said, commenting on the US Artemis Accords lunar project.

    China's first successful launch of the new Chang Zheng-5B heavy-lift launch vehicle on 6 May took place at the same time as the United States announced the drafting of an international agreement on mineral resource extraction on the moon. According to Reuters, the US' potential partners for the Artemis Accords project are a number of EU states, Canada, Japan, and the UAE.

    According to competent sources, at the initial stage, Russia, which is NASA's main partner in the ISS, allegedly won't be involved in negotiating the project. China is also not mentioned among the possible partners for a future international agreement on moon mineral resource extraction.

  9. #219
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    https://arstechnica.com/science/2020...ut-15-minutes/

    Large chunks of a Chinese rocket missed New York City by about 15 minutes

    A week ago, China launched*the newest version of its largest rocket, the Long March 5B, from its southernmost spaceport. The launch proceeded normally and represented another success for China as it seeks to build a robust human spaceflight program. Over the next few years, this rocket will launch components of a modular space station.

    Notably, because of this rocket's design, its large core stage reached orbit after the launch.
    >
    However, the Long March 5B rocket has no second stage.
    >
    The US Space Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron confirmed that the core stage re-entered Earth's atmosphere at 11:33am ET (15:33 UTC) on Monday at a location over the Atlantic Ocean. At this point, the core stage would have been at an altitude of 80km and rapidly descending toward Earth.
    >
    It is perhaps worth noting that before it entered Earth's atmosphere, the core stage track passed directly over New York City. Had it reentered the atmosphere only a little bit earlier, perhaps 15 to 20 minutes, the rocket's debris could have rained down on the largest metro area in the United States.

    >

  10. #220
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    The capsule is a bit lighter than their Shenzhou—and much less massive than station modules and such—which just about made the LV a stage-and-half-to-orbit affair.

    The reason behind this was to emulate lunar return speeds like Orion’s EFT.

    It used to be Delta II bits that liked to come down in Africa IIRC

  11. #221
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    "Manned rocket development a pressing issue for nation’s moon landing mission: deputy chief designer"

    https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1201345.shtml

    China is pressing ahead with the research and development of a crewed heavy-lift carrier rocket, whose launch capability would reach 70 tons to the Low Earth orbit (LEO) and 27 tons to the Lunar Transfer orbit (LTO), according to a tentative roadmap for the country's future moon landing strategy unveiled on Friday by Zhou Yanfei, deputy chief designer of the China manned space program.

    None of the existing members of China's Long March carrier rocket family could allow the country to achieve such an ambitious manned moon landing mission, Zhou said during his keynote speech at the China Space Conference on Friday, adding that the development of a new heavy-lift manned carrier rocket is among other challenges in reaching the goal.

    The new rocket will be able to carry a manned spaceship and lunar lander into the LTO, and it will feature a modular design to enable flexibility of expansion, Zhou said.

  12. #222
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    "Manned rocket development a pressing issue for nation’s moon landing mission: deputy chief designer"

    https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1201345.shtml
    Wind things back a few years and people really seemed to believe that the next nation to put a man on the moon would be China and that the USA's manned spaceflight program was all but moribund. Now the US has one heavy lift vehicle in operation and two super heavies under development. Honestly I think if you had asked me a decade ago I would have expected to see a Chinese Heavy launch vehicle on the pad by 2020. Of course I would also have expected the SLS to be cancelled long before now...

  13. #223
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
    Wind things back a few years and people really seemed to believe that the next nation to put a man on the moon would be China and that the USA's manned spaceflight program was all but moribund. Now the US has one heavy lift vehicle in operation and two super heavies under development. Honestly I think if you had asked me a decade ago I would have expected to see a Chinese Heavy launch vehicle on the pad by 2020. Of course I would also have expected the SLS to be cancelled long before now...
    China's time line for a manned moon landing has been late 2020s to early 2030s. It was dependent on the development of the LM-9 which is late 2020s'.

    Their immediate goals are the Luna sample return (Chang'e-5) and the Chinese Space Station. Hope to hear more details of future plans after the major Chinese government meeting next quarter.

  14. #224
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
    Wind things back a few years and people really seemed to believe that the next nation to put a man on the moon would be China and that the USA's manned spaceflight program was all but moribund. Now the US has one heavy lift vehicle in operation and two super heavies under development. Honestly I think if you had asked me a decade ago I would have expected to see a Chinese Heavy launch vehicle on the pad by 2020. Of course I would also have expected the SLS to be cancelled long before now...
    Went through the tread to find any reference to a Chinese manned moon landing. 1st reference I found was in December 2014. It states the 1st landing will be only after the Chinese develop their "heavy rocket".

    And the latest news from China on their Moon manned landing plans.
    Last edited by selvaarchi; 2020-Sep-21 at 02:38 AM.

  15. #225
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    China's time line for a manned moon landing has been late 2020s to early 2030s. It was dependent on the development of the LM-9 which is late 2020s'.

    Their immediate goals are the Luna sample return (Chang'e-5) and the Chinese Space Station. Hope to hear more details of future plans after the major Chinese government meeting next quarter.
    Well as I said I think there was an expectation, or maybe in some quarters a fear, that China was going to race ahead of the US and that they would indeed beat everyone else to putting people on another planet. Of course its probably that timeframes and expectations have changed over the last ten years and the Chinese have been caught out by the sudden acceleration in the pace of spaceflight development in the last decade in the same way as every other government drive space program. I mean ESA is about to bring the Ariane 6 online and it's in danger of being obsolete before it flies. So not a criticism, just an example of how much has changed in the last decade when it comes to spaceflight when you compare it to the glacial progress of the previous several decades.

  16. #226
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
    Well as I said I think there was an expectation, or maybe in some quarters a fear, that China was going to race ahead of the US and that they would indeed beat everyone else to putting people on another planet. Of course its probably that timeframes and expectations have changed over the last ten years and the Chinese have been caught out by the sudden acceleration in the pace of spaceflight development in the last decade in the same way as every other government drive space program. I mean ESA is about to bring the Ariane 6 online and it's in danger of being obsolete before it flies. So not a criticism, just an example of how much has changed in the last decade when it comes to spaceflight when you compare it to the glacial progress of the previous several decades.
    China has also taken note of what SpaceX has done and trying to catch up in those areas you pointed out. For example the last launch they used "Grid fins were flown on the first stage again...including one reused from an earlier Long March 4B launch in November 2019!". They are also developing reusable rockets. There is also another heavy rocket in development with a earlier timeline.

  17. #227
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    China has also taken note of what SpaceX has done and trying to catch up in those areas you pointed out. For example the last launch they used "Grid fins were flown on the first stage again...including one reused from an earlier Long March 4B launch in November 2019!". They are also developing reusable rockets. There is also another heavy rocket in development with a earlier timeline.
    Well all this seems to smack of the problem I see with the Chinese space industry, a dilution of effort as they chase after every new development coming out of Western space agencies and corporations. That said pursuing reusability is a good thing as it will avoid the hazard currently posed by spent boosters landing in rural China. One would hope that they would also be giving a high priority to doing away with the highly toxic fuels being used by the current version of the Long-March 4b.

  18. #228
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
    Well all this seems to smack of the problem I see with the Chinese space industry, a dilution of effort as they chase after every new development coming out of Western space agencies and corporations. That said pursuing reusability is a good thing as it will avoid the hazard currently posed by spent boosters landing in rural China. One would hope that they would also be giving a high priority to doing away with the highly toxic fuels being used by the current version of the Long-March 4b.
    I think you are giving them less credit for the progress they have made in rocket development. Other nations too started with highly toxic fuels before moving to other less toxic fuels. China new rockets, LM5 to LM11 do not use the toxic fuels and they would replace the older rockets over time. In the mean time the introduction of using Grid fins gives them some control of where the 1st stage lands.

  19. #229
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    Sometimes it seems to me that we are already out of habit prejudiced against Chinese developments. But in fact, China has stepped forward incredibly quickly in terms of development rates, and this scares the rest of the world's leaders 100%. China is gradually moving other countries, probably in all areas.

  20. #230
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    Quoted as an example to all:
    Quote Originally Posted by Kay Burton View Post
    Sometimes it seems to me that we are already out of habit prejudiced against Chinese developments. But in fact, China has stepped forward incredibly quickly in terms of development rates, and this scares the rest of the world's leaders 100%. China is gradually moving other countries, probably in all areas.
    We've had a couple-three-or-more problematic posts in this thread recently, so here's a reminder that rule 12 reads, in part:
    12. Politics & ReligionSince this forum is devoted to science and discussions of politics and religion are both off-topic and tend to incite behavior we discourage, forum participants are generally prohibited from discussing religious and political issues. Please don't begin or contribute to a topic that's merely going to incite or fuel a flame war.However, the following exceptions apply:A) Political impact upon space programs, exploration, and science.
    So, let's keep the focus on space programs. No more socio/geo/political commentary for its own sake, please.[/QUOTE]
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  21. #231
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kay Burton View Post
    Sometimes it seems to me that we are already out of habit prejudiced against Chinese developments. But in fact, China has stepped forward incredibly quickly in terms of development rates, and this scares the rest of the world's leaders 100%. China is gradually moving other countries, probably in all areas.
    Well As I say when it comes to spaceflight 10 years ago I would happily have agreed China appeared to be racing ahead, but now they seem to be back to playing catch up. Mostly of course that is simply a result of the rapid acceleration of commercial spaceflight development over the last decade.

  22. #232
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    Quoted as an example to all:We've had a couple-three-or-more problematic posts in this thread recently, so here's a reminder that rule 12 reads, in part:So, let's keep the focus on space programs. No more socio/geo/political commentary for its own sake, please.
    [/QUOTE]

    Good. I didn't mean anything like that, just inference based on observations.

    Quote Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
    Well As I say when it comes to spaceflight 10 years ago I would happily have agreed China appeared to be racing ahead, but now they seem to be back to playing catch up. Mostly of course that is simply a result of the rapid acceleration of commercial spaceflight development over the last decade.
    Whatever it was, but you must agree that when there is competition in the economy, in science, then progress occurs much faster, because there is motivation.

  23. #233
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
    Well As I say when it comes to spaceflight 10 years ago I would happily have agreed China appeared to be racing ahead, but now they seem to be back to playing catch up. Mostly of course that is simply a result of the rapid acceleration of commercial spaceflight development over the last decade.
    SpaceX is what China looks on. Latest article shows the amount of effort going into grid fins so the stages have a controlled landing.

    http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0923/c90000-9763671.html

    Launch of China's Long March-4B rocket from the northwest of the country earlier this week included the use of grid fins to guide and locate fallen debris from the space vehicle more accurately than before.

    The three-stage liquid-fueled rocket lifted off at 1:40 p.m. Monday carrying an ocean-monitoring satellite into an orbit inclined 66 degrees.

    Drawing more attention was the fact that the first stage of the rocket included a grid fin recovered from a Long March-4B rocket launched in 2019. After ensuring that the structure was complete, scientists repaired its heat-resistant coating to make it reusable, sources with the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation said.

    Grid fins, like wings, are used for controlling rockets at high speeds.

    Small in size, the waffle-like grid fin is the first reusable product on Chinese rockets, and marks an important step toward developing vertical take-off and landing reusable launch vehicles, said the rocket maker in a post-launch statement.

  24. #234
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    "China unveils ambitious moon mission plans for 2024 and beyond"

    https://www.space.com/china-planning...sions-change-7

    China has a mission operating on the far side of the moon and is preparing to launch another this year to collect lunar samples. And the country plans to add to its impressive lunar resume, with a new set of missions to explore the moon's south pole.

    Chang'e 6, a backup mission for this year's sample-return launch, is scheduled to head to the moon in 2023 or 2024; Chang'e 7 is planned to launch around 2024 with the dual aims of landing on the south pole of the moon and closely studying the region from orbit. An eighth mission is also in the works for later this decade.

    The China National Space Administration's (CNSA) Lunar Exploration and Space Engineering Center last month opened a competitive call to relevant institutes to develop payloads for the five different spacecraft involved in the Chang'e 7 mission. (You can read it here, in Chinese.)

  25. #235
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    China already has a plan for future robotic missions to the moon.

    http://www.ecns.cn/news/2020-11-25/d...h1835339.shtml

    While the lunar quest of Chang'e 5 has just begun, engineers have already mapped out the schedules for China's future moon missions.

    According to mission planners at the China National Space Administration, Chang'e 6 is scheduled to be launched around 2023. Its mission is to land at the moon's south pole and bring back rock and soil samples. Chang'e 7 is set to conduct a thorough investigation of the lunar south pole in 2024. Chang'e 8 will be tasked with testing and verifying cutting-edge technologies that may be applied in future moon expeditions, including a possible lunar outpost.

    The exact launch date and landing site of the Chang'e 6 mission will be determined by the results of the Chang'e 5 mission, said Liu Jizhong, head of the administration's lunar program.

    Like its predecessor, Chang'e 6 will consist of four components-orbiter, lander, ascender and re-entry module.

    In addition to its own mission payloads, the administration will provide 20 kilograms of storage onboard Chang'e 6 to hold scientific apparatus from domestic and foreign institutes as well as Chinese private enterprises. The spacecraft's orbiter will carry 10 kg of such devices, and the other 10 kg will be mounted on the lander, Liu said.

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