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China’s Space Agency Briefs Media on Chang’e-4 and Future Lunar Missions

Jan. 14, 2019 (EIRNS)—The China National Space Administration held a press conference this morning on the ongoing Chang’e-4 mission, and future lunar exploration missions. Giving the briefing was Wu Yunhua, deputy chief commander of the agency, and Wu Weiren, general designer of the lunar program. Wu Weiren said that CNSA is organizing Chinese experts to work on the follow-on lunar missions, and that three future missions are being planned:

  • Chang’e-5, which will launch at the end of this year, will return a sample from the near side of the Moon.

  • Chang’e-6 will conduct a South Pole sample return. Whether it will be conducted on the near side or the far side of the Moon, depends on the results from the sampling mission of Chang’e-5.

  • Chang’e-7 will conduct comprehensive exploration of the South Pole, including its land forms, material composition, and environment.

  • Chang’e-8 will test key advanced technologies on the far side, and companies will be invited to industrialize the technologies. China’s Science and Technology Daily reports that Wu Yunhua further said, “On Change-8 we are planning even more crucial experiments for our lunar exploration, including to determine the possibility of establishing a lunar base for scientific research, if we can do 3D printing on the Moon, and whether it is possible to use the lunar soil for the construction of buildings, in order to jointly construct a lunar base for further exploration of the Moon.”

Previously it has been stated by CNSA that the first Chinese lunar base will be robotic, with periodic visits by astronauts. China has said that its first manned lunar mission will take place around 2030.

At the press conference, the importance of international cooperation was stressed by a number of speakers.

Li Guoping, CNSA spokesperson, said that in follow-up space activities, China will actively implement the resolution of “Strengthening international cooperation in the peaceful use of outer space to achieve the vision of a community of shared destiny” made by the UN UNISPACE+50 high-level meeting in 2018. All countries are welcome to participate in China’s follow-up lunar exploration and deep space exploration projects, he said.

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