China is now eyeing a new mission for its astronauts to land on the moon for the first time after a successful test of a new type of rocket.
As The Guardian reports:
China has successfully launched a new rocket and prototype spacecraft, according to state media, in a major test of its ambitions to operate a permanent space station and send astronauts to the Moon.
A Long March 5B rocket took off from the Wenchang launch site on the southern island of Hainan and eight minutes later an unmanned prototype spacecraft successfully separated and entered its planned orbit, Xinhua reported. A test version of a cargo return capsule also successfully separated from the rocket, Xinhua said.
China hopes that the craft will one day transport astronauts to a space station that it plans to complete by 2022 – and eventually to the Moon. It will have capacity for a crew of six…
China plans to send an astronaut to the Moon in about a decade and then build a base there. Its lunar rover on the far side has driven about 450 metres so far.
China’s ambitions in space are likely to spark a response from the United States, which, if tensions continue to rise, could end up eventually taking a military form.