China developing advanced lunar mission spacecraft

China developing advanced lunar mission spacecraft

Chinese scientists are working on an advanced new spaceship that would be capable of flying in low-Earth orbit as well as landing on the Moon, state media reported.

Zhang Bainan, the China Aerospace Science & Technology Cooperation’s chief designer of manned spacecraft, told reporters that the new spacecraft would be able to operate in both low orbit of Earth and Moon landing missions.

The Asian country lagged behind for nearly four decades in the field of first-generation manned spacecraft, but Zhang claimed that the country’s new spacecraft would be very competitive.

China launched its first crewed space mission in 2003, but has advanced quickly since then. In its most recent crewed space mission, two Chinese astronauts spent around a month aboard a space station late last year.

Meanwhile, China is also working on a Mars mission. It has plans to send a rover to the Red Planet in July or August 2020. It will touch down on the planet’s northern hemisphere after a seven-month journey, and will start sending data back in 2021.