China is making significant progress in its mission to land astronauts on the moon by 2030. The country is currently developing a new carrier rocket, called the Long March-10, and a manned spacecraft to support this goal.
The Long March-10 is designed to send spacecraft and moon landers into the Earth-moon transfer orbit. It uses liquid hydrogen, liquid oxygen, and kerosene as propellants. The rocket has a total length of about 92 meters, a takeoff weight of about 2,187 tonnes, a takeoff thrust of about 2,678 tonnes, and a carrying capacity of at least 27 tonnes for the Earth-moon transfer orbit.
The new rocket can also be configured without boosters for missions involving transporting astronauts and cargo to the space station. In this configuration, it has a total length of about 67 meters, a takeoff weight of about 740 tonnes, a takeoff thrust of about 892 tonnes, and a low-Earth orbit carrying capacity of at least 14 tonnes.
According to Rong Yi, a rocket expert with the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, the Long March-10 is a crucial component in China’s plan to land astronauts on the moon before 2030. It is expected to have its maiden flight in 2027.
In addition to the carrier rocket, China is also developing a new manned spacecraft. The spacecraft features a modular design, consisting of an escape tower, a return capsule, and a service module. It is capable of meeting the needs of both near-earth and deep space missions.
The spacecraft has an orbit mass of about 26 tonnes and can accommodate three astronauts. Its primary purpose is to send astronauts into orbit around the moon and safely return them to Earth. Unlike the previous three-module Shenzhou spacecraft, the new spacecraft has a two-module structure. The return capsule serves as the command center and living quarters for the astronauts, while the service module functions as the energy and power center. This design allows for more flexibility and reusability.
Furthermore, China is also developing a near-earth spacecraft that can accommodate four to seven crew members. This spacecraft is intended for the country’s space tourism initiatives.
Overall, China’s advancements in carrier rocket and spacecraft development are crucial steps towards achieving its goal of landing astronauts on the moon by 2030. These technological advancements will not only support lunar missions but also contribute to the country’s space exploration and tourism endeavors.