Space & Astronomy
China sparks new space race with plans to land humans on the Moon
By T.K. Randall
May 29, 2023 · 6 comments
China's Tiangong space station. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Shujianyang
China has announced that it will be attempting to land humans on the Moon before the end of the decade.
In a move that is sure to stir up memories of the 20th-Century rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union, China has revealed plans to land an astronaut on the lunar surface by 2030, meaning that it will now be directly competing with NASA's Artemis program.
During a press briefing, Deputy Director of the Chinese Manned Space Agency Lin Xiqiang stated that China would be preparing for "a short stay on the lunar surface and human-robotic joint exploration."
"We have a complete near-Earth human space station and human round-trip transportation system," he said, noting that a fourth module for the Tiangong space station would also be launched "at an appropriate time to advance support for scientific experiments and provide the crew with improved working and living conditions."
While the exact timetable of China's moon endeavors in unknown, NASA is currently aiming to land the first humans on the Moon (since the Apollo program) by 2025, though this may yet be delayed.
If they take too long and China progresses quickly, there's a remote possibility that Chinese astronauts could land on the lunar surface before NASA does.
Even so, China seems to be keen to collaborate with the US where possible.
"Our country's consistent stance is that as long as the goal is to utilize space for peaceful purposes, we are willing to cooperate and communicate with any country or aerospace organization," said Li Yingliang, technology director of the Chinese crewed space flight agency.
"Personally, I regret that the U.S. Congress has relevant motions banning cooperation in aerospace between the U.S. and China. I very much regret that personally."
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