China’s Next-Generation Spacecraft Revealed in Stunning Renderings

China has released artist’s renderings of its next-generation spacecraft, including a lunar landing module and a crew spacecraft. These spacecraft will play a crucial role in China’s ambitious plan to send astronauts to the moon.

According to the renderings and descriptions provided by the China Manned Space Agency, the lunar landing module will consist of a landing section and a propulsion section, weighing nearly 26 metric tons. It will have the capacity to accommodate two astronauts. The module will also carry a rover weighing 200 kilograms, equipped with four wheels and various scientific equipment.

The new crew spacecraft will weigh 26 tons and will comprise a reentry capsule and a service section. It will be designed with reliability, reusability, and modular features suitable for both near-Earth flights and lunar landing missions. The spacecraft will be capable of transporting three astronauts to lunar orbit for a moon landing mission and can carry up to seven crew members to China’s space station in low-Earth orbit.

China has announced its plan to achieve its first manned mission to the moon before 2030. The roadmap for this mission involves two launches of the Long March 10 heavy-lift carrier rocket from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province. These launches will transport a landing module and a manned spacecraft to lunar orbit. Once in orbit, the landing module and spacecraft will rendezvous and dock with each other. Two crew members will then enter the landing module, which will descend towards the lunar surface for a soft landing with the assistance of engines.

On the moon, the astronauts will utilize a rover to conduct scientific tasks and collect samples. After completing their assignments, they will return to the landing module, which will transport them back to their spaceship waiting in lunar orbit. In the final stage, the astronauts will transfer the samples into their spacecraft, undock, and begin their journey back to Earth.

China has already conducted five robotic missions to the moon, deploying two rovers and retrieving samples through the Chang’e 5 mission. The next mission, Chang’e 6, is set to land on the moon’s far side and collect samples. If successful, this will be the first time that samples are obtained from the far side of the moon, which is relatively unknown to mankind.

The release of these renderings provides a glimpse into China’s progress in space exploration and its determination to become a major player in lunar missions.