China National Space Administration outlines future mission plans

China is embarking on a very successful voyage with the Chang’e 5 returning their samples to Earth recently. With one complex and successful mission under its belt, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) has begun discussing plans for future space missions. The group outlined a new three-step plan detailing its plans for future lunar and deep-sea exploration.

CNSA vice-president Wu Yanhua said the group had achieved its goals of “moving, landing, and returning,” and that future missions would be focus on “inspection, construction, and notification. Wu said that a “study” would see the group study the geological space and environment of the moon and other cosmic bodies. He would also study radiation in space.

The goal of “building” is to work on building infrastructure. The group identified the relay satellite used for the Chang’e-4 probe supporting a regular connection between the moon and Earth. Wu also noted that the goal could include a long-term study of water and electricity supply, possibly for the moon.

The goal of “taking advantage” relates to the human development of external resources. Wu says that’s a common goal of intersex verification missions around the world. It is reported that Phase 4 of CNSA’s lunar lunar exploration plan is underway and will include four missions that will slip into the Chang’e series.

The next mission is Chang’e-6 and is expected to take place between 2021 and 2025. It will be a lunar material collection mission with the sampling location that may be on the south pole of the moon or beyond the moon. Where the next mission recovers the samples depend on the Queqiao satellite. If it still works when Chang’e-6 launches, CNSA is considering sending its mission to the other side of the moon to take samples. Samples from the other side of the moon have never been collected by any space agency.