May 29, 2023 – China has announced its ambitious plan to send its first astronauts to the moon by 2030, marking a significant milestone in the nation’s space exploration journey.
During a press conference held at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center for the Shenzhou-16 manned space mission, Lin Xiqiang, Deputy Director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office, disclosed that China has initiated the implementation phase of its manned lunar exploration program. The bold move aims to accomplish the first-ever Chinese manned lunar landing within this decade.
The China Manned Space Engineering Office has commenced a comprehensive set of research and development activities, including the creation of a new generation of manned carrier rockets (Long March 10), a new generation of manned spacecraft, lunar landers, lunar suits, and other flight products. Additionally, the construction of new launch sites and related testing and launch facilities and equipment is underway.
This announcement comes as part of China’s broader effort to become a major player in space exploration. The nation has been making significant strides in space technology over the past few decades. Its lunar exploration program, also known as the Chang’e program, has achieved several notable feats, including the successful landing of the Chang’e-4 probe on the far side of the moon in 2019 and the return of lunar samples to Earth by the Chang’e-5 mission in 2020. With its sights set on manned lunar missions, China is poised to make substantial contributions to our understanding of the moon and beyond.