Executive Intelligence Review


At Its Own Pace, China Develops a Rocket To Take Men to the Moon

July 2, 2018 (EIRNS)—Xinhua reviews the range of China’s new rockets that are under development today, the most far-reaching of which will take China’s manned space program beyond Earth orbit, is the Long March 9. This Saturn V-class heavy-lift vehicle will be able to take 140 tons of payload to low Earth orbit, 50 tons to an Earth-Moon transfer orbit, and send 44 tons to Mars orbit. The Long March 9 (and the manned landing on the Moon) are expected to be ready in 2030.

Long Lehao, with the Chinese Academy of Engineering and a launch vehicle chief designer, said in a speech at Tsinghua University that the heavy-lift vehicle could also be used for unmanned deep space exploration and building space-based solar power plants.

In the near future, China is developing a reusable rocket, the Long March 8, scheduled for a maiden flight in 2021. The medium-sized Long March 7, whose launches were halted after an accident last July, will resume flights, and take 20-ton segments to China’s space station, starting next year.

An AFP story today covering the same story, runs the faulty headline, “China Aims To Outstrip NASA with Super-Powerful Rocket.” Aside from the fact that the Chinese do not “aim” their space program by what other countries are doing, NASA’s Space Launch System, of comparable capability as the Long March 9, will be test flown almost a decade before the Chinese rocket—hardly a race.

AFP asserts that China’s space station is being developed by a “military-run space program,” without mentioning the recent invitation China has made through the United Nations for any other country to participate.