China's lunar program and its goals

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AMC "Chang'e-5" during assembly. Photo Wikimedia Commons

In recent decades, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) has made great strides and is now planning bold new programs. In particular, work continues on a large and daring lunar program. It is divided into several stages, and the first ones have been successfully completed. Now the goal of KKKU is to organize new research missions, and then to build a long-term automated scientific station ILRS.

Four stages


The development of the lunar program, later called "Chang'e" (the goddess of the moon in Chinese mythology), began in the late nineties. In 2004, the finished plan was accepted for implementation, and then the first work began. The program is divided into four main stages with their own goals and objectives. Successful implementation of the plans of one stage creates the scientific and technical basis for the transition to the next.



The purpose of the first stage, which lasted until the beginning of the tenth years, was the launch of spacecraft into the orbit of the moon. The Chang'e-2007 apparatus was the first to solve this problem in November 1. In December 2013, the implementation of the second stage began: the automatic interplanetary station "Chang'e-3" gently landed on the surface of the satellite, carried out the necessary research and landed the first Chinese lunar rover. In December last year, the Chang'e-5 apparatus returned from the moon with soil samples. This summed up the third phase of the entire lunar program.


The Changzheng-5 launch vehicle with the Chang'e-5 spacecraft, November 23, 2020 Photo by Wikimedia Commons

The fourth stage of the Chang'e program provides for a greater number of launches of vehicles for various purposes. First, several landing modules with scientific equipment will be sent to the moon, which will find optimal places for placing a permanent station. Then, within the framework of the same stage, the deployment of the station itself will begin, which will be built on a modular basis.

The new Chang'e stage is particularly difficult and therefore will be the longest. Its goal is to build a full-fledged International Lunar Research Station (ILRS). According to current plans, the first research mission will begin in the coming years, and the construction of the entire station will be completed only by 2035.

It is curious that KKKU does not plan to carry out all the work independently and relies on the help of foreign colleagues. So, in March, KKKU and Roscosmos signed a memorandum on joint work. In addition, two organizations invited all interested parties to join the project. In June, it became known that negotiations were already underway with space agencies of third countries.


Launch vehicle "Changzheng-5" and future AMS of the "Chang'e" program. IEEE graphics

Lunar Scouts


According to the latest reports, KKKU and other Chang'e participants will spend the coming years exploring possible locations for the ILRS permanent base. To this end, China will send two AMCs to the moon; also, the possibility of launching equipment developed by other countries is not excluded. Exploration missions of this kind will be completed by the end of this decade.

In 2024, KKKU plans to launch two lunar stations at once: "Chang'e-6" and "Chang'e-7". The first of them was built together with "Chang'e-5" as its backup, but was not needed in this role and moved to a new stage of the program. This AMS is planned to be sent to the region of the South Pole of the Moon for various measurements. In addition, she will have to collect and send a new portion of the soil to Earth.

The Chang'e-7 mission will also be sent to the South Pole. As part of this project, an orbital and landing module, as well as a lunar rover and an unmanned aerial vehicle are being developed. In addition, an auxiliary relay satellite will be built and sent into orbit. Chang'e-7 will investigate one of the craters and help determine its prospects as a site for the ILRS.

China's lunar program and its goals

Stages of the iLRS Construction Program. KNKU graphics

In 2027, KKKU may launch the Chang'e-8 station with a special set of equipment. This AMC will have to conduct experiments on the use of lunar soil for the manufacture of building materials and simple structures. The success of such research will greatly simplify the further exploration of the Moon.

The planned research programs will be carried out using the existing heavy launch vehicle Changzheng-5. Depending on the modification and configuration, such a rocket can launch into a low reference orbit up to 25 tons or up to 4,5 tons into a geostationary one. This is enough to deliver modern AMS to the Moon.

A certain contribution to the future construction can be made by the Russian AMS Luna-25, which is scheduled to launch in May next year. It will deliver about a dozen Russian and foreign instruments for various purposes to the south polar region of the Moon. The assigned period of active existence is 1 year. Scientific data from Luna-25 can be used in planning further activities for the full-scale station.


ILRS station on the Luna surface. KKKU graphics

Perhaps by the end of the decade, other Chinese or foreign-built AMCs will also participate in the South Pole exploration. However, so far there is only one international memorandum, and other countries have not expressed a desire to participate in the research and construction of the ILRS.

Modular construction


In parallel with the research, the design and construction of the components of the future ILRS long-term station will be carried out during the twenties. According to KKKU's current plans, the first elements of this complex will be sent to the moon in 2031, and the latter will be deployed in 4-5 years. However, according to the results of the work of the planned AMC, plans and projects can be adjusted.

Construction of the station will begin with the ILSR-1 mission, when the key elements of the station are sent to the moon: an automatic command center, an energy module and communication systems. Then the ILSR-2 module will be sent with a set of new scientific equipment. After landing on the moon, it will be connected to other facilities of the station. The next module ILSR-3 will deal with the production of building materials for further work. ILSR-4 is used for new experiments, as well as for collecting and sending samples to Earth. In 2035, the ILSR-5 lunar observatory will be delivered to the site to observe space and our planet.


Interaction of station components. KNKU graphics

The components of the ILSR station, according to calculations, will differ in size and mass, which is why they need a special launch vehicle. A super-heavy rocket "Changzheng-9" is proposed for them, capable of delivering 150 tons to LEO or 53 tons to GSO. Other projects of launch vehicles with similar characteristics are also being developed.

Most likely, in 2035, the construction of the ILSR will not stop. In the future, China, independently or in cooperation with other countries, will be able to send new modules and components for one purpose or another to the moon. In addition, from a certain time, KKKU and its subcontractors will have to replace old modules that have exhausted their resource. However, plans of this kind have not yet been disclosed - and, probably, have not even been drawn up yet.

Plans for the future


Thus, China continues its Chang'e lunar program and makes plans for a decade and a half ahead. In the coming years, KKKU will conduct several additional research missions, and then begin the full construction of a long-term research station. By the mid-thirties, it will acquire the form proposed by the current project and will be able to solve a wide range of problems.


Model of the Russian station "Luna-25". Photo Wikimedia Commons

It should be noted that the ILRS station is being created unmanned; all of its components will work offline. This makes it possible to greatly simplify and speed up all processes of creation and subsequent deployment of equipment. At the same time, the effectiveness of research and other work will remain at the proper level.

In the future, KKKU does not exclude the possibility of building a permanent habitable base - this will be the fifth stage of the lunar program. However, the timing of the appearance of such an object remains unknown. According to various estimates, it will be possible to create the base only in the middle of the century. In the meantime, all the efforts of the participants in the Chang'e program are focused on organizing new research and designing modules for the automatic station. It is these works that will determine the further course of the ILRS project, and with it the prospects for programs in the distant future.
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  1. +7
    29 September 2021
    All that remains is to envy. Sadly.
    1. +16
      29 September 2021
      Yes, Russia is a shame in the role of a "carrier of shells" for the Chinese space! So our cosmonautics has slipped to the level of the beginning of its creation ...
      1. +3
        30 September 2021
        But soon we will fly to the moon, -
        And what do we fight with America:
        Left - to us, right - to them,
        And the rest is for the Chinese.
        V. Vysotsky 1965.
        Semyonitch was wrong, we won't get anything ...
        1. +1
          30 September 2021
          Semyonitch was wrong, we won't get anything ...
          It's about the USSR, not about the Russian Federation.
      2. +2
        30 September 2021
        A certain contribution to the future construction can be made by the Russian AMS Luna-25, which is scheduled to launch in May next year.
        I do not believe it, from the word "absolutely".
    2. +9
      29 September 2021
      Quote: Kote Pan Kokhanka
      All that remains is to envy. Sadly.

      most likely, even during our lifetime, we will have time to see the attempts of the leading space powers to "stake out" the lunar territory.
      and above all at the delicious South Pole
    3. +5
      29 September 2021
      Even more. Our proverb turned against us: the elbow is near, but you won't bite. It's a shame for Yuri Alekseevich.
    4. 0
      November 18, 2021
      Well, we now have other "tasks", not up to the "lunar programs":
  2. nnm
    +11
    29 September 2021
    Rogozin does not want to comment on anything in his twitter in response, by any chance?
    1. +16
      29 September 2021
      Rogozin is busy sending the actress and director into space for filming. 2 lard was dropped for the film. Astronauts disapprove. Mikhail Kornienko:
      There are many problems - the second line is being built on Vostochny. I am not an accountant, and, perhaps, I have not gone into my own jungle. But I would have found a better use of money than sending these two there, - said the astronaut. - The cosmonaut training center is holding on to these innovations. And besides, it costs a lot of money. I don’t know, maybe these are extra-budgetary sources - I don’t really understand who will pay these 2 billion for them. Maybe they have some kind of sponsors. But on the exhaust, I'm afraid that not very much will turn out. Not for the country, not for Roscosmos
      1. +2
        29 September 2021
        Let's wait for the start of Soyuz MS-19. After that we will raise the Temko.
        I also have a lot of questions about this cinema circus.
        1. +7
          29 September 2021
          Quote: Cosm22
          After that, we'll raise the Temko.

          Yes, this Temko will be raised by all and sundry, you can be sure. And I just can't imagine that и How they will shoot there so that the audience gasped with delight. Do they shoot films about space in the pavilions - "Time of the First" and "Salyut-7"? And something I have not seen or heard to find fault with the very effects of weightlessness. In Hollywood, too, a lot of science fiction is filmed on Earth and nothing. True, the Americans wanted all the same to shoot specifically in space, and we apparently again with our "US response".
          1. +4
            29 September 2021
            Let's talk about the effect, too, there is a lot to say.
            For now, I will confine myself to the remark that if Shipenko shoots an analogue of his Salyut-7, then nothing good will come of it. He'll squeeze a tear, he's gotten used to it, but nothing more.
            "Time of the first" I do not touch. There, at least almost everything is within the bounds of decency.
      2. +26
        29 September 2021
        From Rogozin's diary. Cases for a year.
        1. Fly to the moon, check if the Americans were there.
        Refute the fact of landing as a deceitful speculation.
        2. Fly to the moon, check if the Chinese lunar rover was there.
        Refute the fact of landing as a deceitful speculation.
        3. Get funding for the construction of a city on Mars and finish building a villa in the Seychelles.
        To refute the existence of the villa as a deceitful speculation.
        1. +7
          29 September 2021
          Quote: Crowe
          From Rogozin's diary. Cases for a year.
          1. Fly to the moon, check if the Americans were there.
          Refute the fact of landing as a deceitful speculation.
          2. Fly to the moon, check if the Chinese lunar rover was there.
          Refute the fact of landing as a deceitful speculation.
          3. Get funding for the construction of a city on Mars and finish building a villa in the Seychelles.
          To refute the existence of the villa as a deceitful speculation.

          good hi
        2. +3
          30 September 2021
          3. Get funding for the construction of a city on Mars and finish building a villa in the Seychelles.
          To refute the existence of the villa as a deceitful speculation.
          I think it's even worse: Get money, invest half in the American economy, distribute the other half to children and mistresses.
      3. +1
        30 September 2021
        The film's box office will hopefully be able to recoup the costs. Although what I mean ...
  3. +3
    29 September 2021
    First, second, third, the Chinese Chineseauts will not have the same opportunity as the Russian station, which will drive solar moonshine out of the solar wind and sell it to Chinese Chineseauts.
  4. +6
    29 September 2021
    But our model is more beautiful than their station.
    1. +16
      29 September 2021
      The optimist believes that after Rogozin, a real professional from the industry will be appointed to the national cosmonautics.
      The pessimist believes that some hairdresser or veterinarian will be thrown into the embrasure.
      The realist raises his eyebrows in bewilderment: “Astronautics? After
      Rogozin? Will she be? "
      1. +13
        29 September 2021
        The realist raises his eyebrows in bewilderment.
        A realist will now ask: "And what, there is still astronautics in Russia ???"
  5. +9
    29 September 2021
    I propose to Rogozin to make Harakiri or, at least, shoot himself! But, I understand perfectly well that the "trampoline" will never do this! He is not ashamed for anything !!!
    1. +4
      29 September 2021
      Quote: Yuriy71
      I propose to Rogozin to make Harakiri or, at least, shoot himself! But, I understand perfectly well that the "trampoline" will never do this! He is not ashamed for anything !!!

      Obviously, baragozin will not shoot himself, hang himself and he is not ashamed, otherwise why would he lick something all his life, grovel, building a career. Now he got what he was going for, he got a position and it doesn't matter to him that he doesn't understand nichrome in this area, but he understands well that while he is in office and fin. flow, then it is necessary to take so much that it will be enough for all his relatives. This is how the entire personnel policy of the Russian Federation works.
      If we look at the results of the work of the highest bureaucratic apparatus, then everywhere the result will be with a "-" sign.
  6. +6
    29 September 2021
    There will / will not be, but these are real plans.
    Instead of leapfrog promises we have.
    They promised to throw something on the moon by 2015 ... But the money all went somewhere, as always ...
    1. 0
      October 1 2021
      They promised to throw something on the moon ...

      They promised to go to the moon, but they abandoned the moon. Something like this. Pictures are easier and cheaper to draw.
  7. +1
    29 September 2021
    The Chinese go through all the stages of the lunar race, which ended a long time ago. Let them sink, takeoff and landing is useful.
    1. -1
      30 September 2021
      At least one clear comment. And then only whining about Rogozin
  8. +6
    29 September 2021
    Why do all the failures fall on Rogozin? here the System itself is to blame. As long as the military rocketry is at the level, Rogozin will be in place and the disruption of the lunar program will not affect him in any way. The deceitful System under which the plutocrats are called "Elite" is very similar to the late communist party oligarchy, under which the weak elders were called active progressive leaders of Mankind. This is annoying, it takes time for competencies.
    1. +5
      30 September 2021
      Naturally, the matter is in the "system". Former blacksmiths and their sponsors from law enforcement agencies a priori cannot create and produce anything: their credo - sale - resale and milking - were taxed with various levies in their favor. And, like "earned" - to zanykat in different "money boxes", to build "no man's" palaces, to buy islands for an "unknown buyer" and the like. Ask about the development of the country? And let it develop itself, somehow, there is a convenient theory for this - "on the self-regulation of the market economy", the main thing is to ensure, at the same time, their (their) reproduction and only what they are doing ...
      1. 0
        30 September 2021
        During Stalin's life and even strongly after her, a part of the population also believed that he himself was sitting in palaces and eating into three throats. But it turned out that Stalin lived modestly. So you stop spreading nonsense about palaces. And then the grandchildren will be ashamed to look in the eyes later.
      2. 0
        October 1 2021
        Well done, you have done well with the Amerikosov.
  9. -1
    30 September 2021
    We went through all this in the 70s. The question is what to do next
  10. +2
    October 1 2021
    We can only dream of flying to the moon. We have no agriculture, industry, science and monstrous corruption. And no Rogozins will fix it ...
  11. 0
    October 1 2021
    China's "lunar program" looks like a banal trolling of the states. The official results are classified, some crumbs of information have been leaked to the public, and now they are silent.
    I suppose they tried to put pressure on the states (we will tell everyone that you did not fly there), but there is nothing to put pressure on.
    Everyone has only plans for the future, the Americans will fly to Neptune. Why Neptune?
    Because no one will CHECK.
  12. 0
    October 31 2021
    In the PRC, these large-scale plans include studying the use of the resource base. By itself, it will only be required in space; it is unprofitable to attract it for earthly needs, even in the long term. It looks quite interesting, and taking into account the capabilities of China, it is realistic precisely as a program, and not as a constantly operating area of ​​space research. In general, in such a form as it was 50 years ago, it turns out to be expensive, even for the PRC. The USA was blown away in 6 launches. A word behind the Mask. The Russian Federation has no new ideas yet, the "new" steps are so far partially repeating the old ones, and so far without much hope for anything more.
  13. 0
    November 7, 2021
    There are no vacancies for shoe shiners? The first - Rogozin, the rest - in turn. I would be there with a whip ...
  14. 0
    November 7, 2021
    Rice fields will be planted on the moon. And in the days of Khrushch there was an anecdote. The Americans flew to the moon, got an appointment with the lunar chief. We would like to borrow several hectares from you for rockets. And the boss says you are late. There was a little plump bald man, so he took everything under the corn.
  15. 0
    November 27, 2021
    If they steal and there is corruption, then as a rule it does not affect government programs and interests (Basically, the use of official position or abuse). And we already have such holes in Roskosmos that it is simply incomprehensible to the mind, and that again the boyars are bad. Sad. All that remains is to read about what Soviet scientists dreamed of.
  16. -1
    December 10 2021
    Now we read about the Chinese lunar programs ...
    If a great country had not been destroyed thirty years ago, they would have read about their own ...

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