China intends to land its own spacefarers – known as taikonauts (Mandarin: yuhangyuan) on the Moon by the end of the decade, according to Chinese state-run news agency Global Times.
Reports citing China’s Manned Space Agency (CMSA) deputy chief engineer Zhang Hailian indicate they would send twin Long March launch rockets into lunar orbit – one transporting a lunar lander and another carrying the taikonauts to their destination.
The two transports would rendezvous in lunar orbit, allowing crews to enter the lander and descend to the Moon’s surface.
Zhang told a conference in Wuhan that a next-generation spacecraft for taikonaut transport, lunar lander and moon rover will be developed as part of the mission, which would see astronauts undertake science missions and sample collections on the Moon. The mission will further Chinese efforts to establish a lunar base.
CMSA is also developing the Long March 10 super heavy rocket for use in the mission.
No launch date for the project has been indicated, nor details on the number of astronauts who would be sent as part of a Moon landing attempt.
The US recently began its Moon return missions with the Artemis I launch in 2022.
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