China's Lunar Base Work Progress

The Genie's Moon Mastery Studies Are Progressing
Genie's Moon Base Studies In Progress - An image showing phase 3 of the China-Russia ILRS roadmap. Credits: CNSA

With a series of missions leading to a permanent moon base, China has set the roadmap for robotic and crewed lunar and deep space exploration.
Three future robotic missions will deploy relay satellites, lander and orbiter vehicles and test critical technologies that will be used to begin building China's International Lunar Research Station (ILRS) in the 2030s.

The ILRS will initially be a robotic base and will be permanently habitable after 2035, contrary to China's current plans for a short-term crewed Moon landing mission before the end of the decade.

Senior space official Wu Weiren said on November 24 that China is currently working on the launch of the Chang'e-6, 7 and 8 missions in the coming years to lay the groundwork for the larger moon base initiative. The four-day workshop in Haikou on the island of Hainan focused on space exploration and innovation.

Chang'e-2020, the backup mission of Chang'e-5, which successfully brought samples from the Moon in 6, will attempt to collect up to two kilograms of material from the South Pole-Aitken Basin on the far side of the Moon in 2026. Due to engineering limitations, the descent is expected to occur at a latitude similar to the Chang'e-2019 landing at Von Karman crater in 4.

A new Lunar relay satellite will also be launched to facilitate communication with missions targeting the Moon's south pole region. An orbiter, lander, rover and "small flying detector" make up the Chang'e-7 spacecraft. Launching around 2026, this vehicle will study the Moon's terrain, material composition and environment. The second spacecraft will search for the presence of water ice.

Both the United States and China have overlapping target landing sites in the region where the mission will look into the permanently shadowed areas of the Moon's south pole.

Wu said: “We hope that Chang'e-7 will use its hopping detector to get into one or two of these craters and see if there is water there.”

The Chang'e-2028 mission, currently scheduled to launch in 8, will test the use of 3D printing and in situ sourcing. The foundation for larger ILRS efforts will be provided by the infrastructure launched as part of these missions.

China aims to achieve a crewed Moon landing before 2030. Three astronauts will be sent to the Moon for this mission, and the next-generation crewed launch vehicle currently in development will launch twice, two of which will land on the Moon for approximately six hours. The required spacecraft and lunar lander are currently being created.

The ILRS will launch five times in the early 2030s to establish orbital and surface infrastructure for energy, communications, onsite sourcing, and other technologies.

Officials recently noted that the design of the Long March 9 superheavy-lift rocket has undergone refinements to make it reusable as needed for these missions. The Long March 9 rocket was originally intended to be disposable.

According to Wu, quoted by the South China Morning Post, China is developing “a new technology that uses nuclear power to meet the long-term, high-power energy needs of the moon base.”

Wu has been a vocal supporter of using such technologies to power space travel, including trips to the outer solar system. An important evaluation of the megawatt reactor of the Chinese Academy of Sciences was successful in August.

The plan, to be unveiled in St Petersburg, Russia, in June 2021, calls for five missions, numbered 1 through ILRS-5, each of which will focus on energy and communications, facilities for research and exploration, use of on-site resources, general technologies, and astronomical capabilities. exists.

As we stand ready to collaborate with other nations to create the International Lunar Research Station, we invite them to join us in the planning, research and subsequent sharing of scientific data. According to Wu, we expect the ILRS to be completed by 2035, and we also hope it will evolve into a major national research initiative.

Russia is China's current partner in the project and has pledged to integrate the super-heavy launch missions as well as the upcoming Luna missions into the initiative. At the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) held in Paris in September, China announced its willingness to cooperate internationally for ILRS and deep space missions, but Russia was not mentioned in the plans.

It is possible that China's primary ally was left out due to concerns over the effects of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but this poses a problem for China in its efforts to increase cooperation.

Wu also confirmed China's goals for planetary defense tests, sending twin probes to the ends of the heliosphere, returning samples from a near-Earth asteroid, returning samples from Mars, and sending a mission to Jupiter and Uranus.

According to Wu, the second asteroid diversion mission will target an object about 30 meters in diameter and will include both a reconnaissance spacecraft and an impactor. This object was previously identified as 2020 PN1.

Wu hinted at even bigger plans. “I believe we should start making plans to send humans to Mars in the next 15 years and leave footprints of Chinese people on the Moon,” Wu said.

Source: spacenews

Günceleme: 28/11/2022 18:59

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