Beijing, Jul 21 (EFE).- China is developing a new carrier rocket and manned spacecraft to land astronauts on the moon by 2030, state news agency Xinhua reported Friday.
The rocket “Long March-10,” is “mainly developed for the purpose of sending spacecraft and moon lander into the Earth-moon transfer orbit,” said Rong Yi, a rocket expert at the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology.
The rocket, which uses liquid hydrogen, liquid oxygen and kerosene as propellants, has a length of 92 meters, a takeoff weight of about 2,187 tons, and a payload capacity of no less than 27 tons for the Earth-moon transfer orbit.
Rong said that the rocket is a strategic support for China to land astronauts on the moon before 2030 and is expected to make its maiden flight in 2027.
The new manned spacecraft can carry three astronauts and is capable of near-earth as well as deep space missions.
Unlike the current Shenzhou spacecraft, which has three modules, the new spacecraft has two parts that makes it flexible with more reusable parts.
One is the return capsule, used as command center of the spacecraft and accommodation for the astronauts and the second is the service module, which is used as the energy and power center of the spacecraft.
China’s ambitious space program has achieved several milestones in recent years, including sending probes and rovers to the Moon and Mars.
The Asian country recently announced that it would build a scientific exploration base on the unexplored south pole of the Moon in the next decade. EFE