China challenges America. Beijing has just announced that it will send its astronauts to the moon before 2030 and build bases there. Washington announces that their astronauts will return to the Silver Globe in late 2025. Despite this, the Americans are afraid that the Chinese will not be the first to militarize the Silver Globe.
This is another big step in the development of China’s space program. The Shenzhou 16 mission launched from the cosmodrome in the Gobi Desert. The 3-person crew reached the new space station of the Middle Kingdom. – It is worth noting that when the spacecraft docks with the station, there will be six Chinese astronauts in orbit at the same time. Three from the latest expedition and three from the previous one. That’s quite a representation, especially when you consider that the first Taikonaut went into space in 2003, 20 years ago, says Steven Jiang, CNN’s Beijing correspondent.
This time, Beijing breaks space barriers, because now, in addition to two professional astronauts, the first civilian has been sent into orbit. – This is Professor Gui Haichao from the prestigious Peking University of Astronautics. This is a big change, because previously all astronauts were military. His glasses are also eye-catching. The authorities and the media use his example to repeat that you don’t have to have perfect eyesight to be an astronaut, adds Steven Jiang.
China is getting bolder in space. In recent years, they have brought samples from the Moon, sent the first rover to the dark side of the Silver Globe, and their unmanned Tianwen-1 mission has reached Mars. In addition, in April 2021, they began construction of a space station called “Heavenly Palace”. The work was completed after 18 months. – At the moment, the Chinese space station is the second station permanently inhabited by humans in orbit next to the International Space Station – explains Rafał Grabiański from the Urania portal.
The speeding Chinese space program wants more. America must therefore face a new space race. Beijing has just announced that it plans to send astronauts to our natural satellite before 2030. – The architecture of China’s first lunar mission is much simpler. This is a kind of Apollo lander built using today’s technology – argues Krzysztof Kurdyła from the Science Foundation. I like it.
According to the American program Artemis, man will return to the silver globe at the end of 2025. In the following years, NASA plans to send a series of missions aimed at building the Gateway circumlunar station and bases on this celestial body. Private companies as well as foreign partners are involved in the project. The Artemis Accords agreement, which assumes joint exploration of the Moon, was signed by 23 countries – including Poland. Despite such extensive cooperation, China’s plans raise concerns.
We’re in a space race. And it’s true that it’s better to be careful that they don’t get to the moon under the guise of scientific research. You can’t rule out the possibility that they’ll say, ‘stay away, we’re here, and this is our territory,’ said Bill Nelson, NASA’s chief executive.
These concerns – just like half a century ago – may be an opportunity for NASA to develop technology. – The chance of the American program is that if the American Congress sees that, for example, the Chinese are doing well with this program and they are threatened with such an image failure, then perhaps they will turn the money tap so neatly again. The Chinese are doing very well. They don’t stare. There is a goal there. Now it has been seen that there is a chance to pass the Americans, so they put a little pressure on the gas – adds Krzysztof Kurdyła.
China also plans to bring samples from Mars, send a probe to Jupiter and build a nuclear-powered shuttle. Beijing announces that by 2045 it will dethrone Washington in orbit and become a space power.
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Main photo source: Reuters