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China has unveiled a plan for a manned mission to the moon. Two rockets will fly at the same time

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China has provided the first details of its manned space mission to the moon. It is to be very unusual: two rockets will be launched simultaneously, one with a crew and the other with a lunar lander, a representative of the Chinese manned spaceflight agency said on Wednesday.

Chinese media reported the latest lunar exploration plans on Wednesday, citing Zhang Hailian, an engineer at China’s Manned Space Agency (CMSA). China’s first manned mission to the moon is planned by 2030.

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Two rockets rockets to the moon

As Zhang has now reported, Beijing plans to simultaneously launch two of its heavy space rockets at the natural satellite of Earth. Such a solution is quite unprecedented. One will carry the crew, while the other will carry the lunar lander intended for them. The modules of both rockets are to reach the lunar orbit at the same time, where they will connect. Then the crew of the Chinese mission will go to the lander, in which it will reach the lunar surface.

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The purpose of the mission is to collect soil samples from the surface of the Moon and conduct a number of scientific studies. After completing the mission, the Taikonauts – as Chinese astronauts are called – will return on board the lander to the orbiting spacecraft, which will take them on their return journey to Earth, Zhang Hailian explained.

Chinese Long March-2F rocketKevin Frayer/Getty Images

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China’s Moon Mission

Sending two heavy space rockets to the moon at the same time seems to be an unusual and ambitious plan. However, as the Reuters agency notes, it is dictated by the need to bypass Beijing’s technical problems. So far, the Chinese have not been able to create a sufficiently powerful space rocket that would be able to launch both the crew and its lander at the same time. Work on the Long March 9 (Chang Zheng-9) heavy rocket, which has been designed for many years, has been delayed, and its first launch is planned only in the mid-1930s. Simultaneous launch of two rockets can therefore be considered a weakness of the plan, rather than its strength – in practice that means twice as many components that can fail.

So far, China has only managed to send an unmanned mission to the lunar surface. In 2020, a Chinese rover collected the first lunar samples and then transported them to Earth. China thus became the third country in history, after the US and the Soviet Union, to do so.

In view of China’s ambitious space program, including construction of a space station and manned missions to the Moon and Mars, there are voices about a new space race. Chinese plans are similar to American ones, and the United States plans to send its astronauts to the moon by 2025. Reuters notes that the reason for the resumption of manned lunar missions is the likelihood of valuable mineral resources on it. It is also believed that the creation of a lunar base could help in future manned missions to other planets, such as Mars.

SEE ALSO: Not only the Divine Vehicle. Space Race: China challenges the US

Reuters, Global Times, tvn24.pl

Main photo source: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

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