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China Approves Three Missions to the Moon

China has approved three more Missions to the Moon over the coming decade, including ones involving rovers, a flying craft and the start of a permanent base.  This will be the fourth phase of the Chinese lunar plan, that has previously seen them photograph the dark side, and return samples of moon rock to the Earth.

Future Missions, scheduled to begin in 2024, will become increasingly complex, resulting in the basic model of a lunar research station built on the Moon. This station is a joint project with the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, and is expected to be operational ahead of a joint crewed  in 2030.

According to Wu Yanhua, deputy head of the China National Space Administration It is known as Chang’e 6, 7 and 8, the trio of uncrewed moon Missions will launch throughout the 2020s on an array of spacecraft. The move comes as part of China’s increasing push into space exploration, which saw the nation launch its own space station in 2021.The first of the phase four moon Missions to launch will be Chang’e 7, expected to launch around 2024, when NASA is expected to return humans to the moon.

The Chinese Missions will be multipurpose, including a relay satellite, a lander, a rover and a mini flying craft, similar to the NASA Ingenuity helicopter used on Mars.Chang’e 6 will launch second, although no specific dates have been given for when it is expected to leave the Earth. It was originally envisioned as a backup for the Chang’e 5 sample-return that brought rock samples back to Earth in December 2020.

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