This Thursday, a cargo capsule successfully landed in the Chinese province of Inner Mongolia, delivering 2 kg of lunar rocks collected in the hot mission to Earth.
Some will ask, what about Russia? Let’s not talk now about the past successes of the USSR in space programs. It has been 30 years since the collapse of that country. We must look at what we have now. Now #roscosmos is carrying out projects to resume the lunar program, the ExoMars apparatus is being prepared. But if we are talking about the future with regard to our programs, then speaking about China and the United States, we are talking about the present. So here they are a few steps ahead. Yes, they say that we are harnessing for a long time, but we are going fast, especially having in mind now the project of the nuclear space tug # nucleon, and the super-heavy launch vehicle Yenisei. But again, this is again in the future.
And stopping at the magnificent Nuclon project, I just want to ask a question. OK, you have designed a great performance nuclear power plant for ion thrusters, that’s great. Have you already created and worked out a manned spacecraft for flight to other planets and landing technology? But this is exactly what will be included in the «space race».
Meanwhile, American experts Stephen Lee Myers and Kenneth Chang from The New York Times, based on the results of the Chang’e-5 mission, directly declare the beginning of a new space race, and it is with China. According to them, the success of the Chang’e-5 mission set the stage for a new space race in the coming decades. This time, it will be a competition for resources on the moon that could contribute to deeper exploration of space. They emphasize: “… China’s growing skill and ambition in space. It has been China’s most successful mission to date. ” And, like me at the beginning of the article, the authors of The New York Times also recall the past rivalry between the United States and the USSR for leadership in the space race, in particular in the lunar program in the 1960s and 1970s, when, during different levels of missions but both countries brought lunar rock samples to earth. But if earlier it was a battle of systems and ideas, now it is a battle for the future resource base, which is the Moon.
Brendan Curry, Chief of Operations for the Planetary Society in Washington DC
Vice President Mike Pence
Experts from The New York Times further talk about what I absolutely agree with, that the time has come when private space companies and projects are imposing competition on government agencies that were once monopolists in space exploration. #spacex of billionaire Elon Musk is the clearest example here. He has created a magnificent reusable Falcon 9 launch vehicle, is building a Starlink satellite Internet network, and is about to travel to Mars using the Starship spacecraft. Of course, along the way, he fulfills government contracts — he created a reusable manned spacecraft Crew Dragon, a Cargo Dragon truck, launches GPS satellites, and is working on an order for a lunar ship for the #nasa Artemis project. There may be less ambitious projects for the companies of billionaires Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson, #blue origin and #virgin galactic, respectively, but they have significant growth potential.
About Russian private space companies in this context, say that there is time to waste. They do not have the necessary financial and resource base (their own factories, test sites and cosmodromes), and their ambitions, if this term can be applied to them at all, do not go beyond attempts to join state projects.
So all that remains is to observe the future space race, in which the United States, China, and private space companies, in our case, SpaceX, have already become participants. There is no need to talk about Chimerica and cooperation between the United States and China in the space sphere. All previous White House administrations have consistently worsened relations with China, imposing sanctions for alleged human rights violations and in order to protect American aerospace technologies. At one time, the United States banned Chinese scientists from taking part in the study of lunar samples delivered by the Americans. China is now responding to this in a mirror-like manner to the Americans, recalling their disdainful attitude.
The new administration of Biden (who was congratulated the other day on the election of V. Putin. I remember that someone told me a month ago not to rush to conclusions based on the results of their «elections».
Development of Chang’e probes began in the early 2000s when President George W. Bush announced that NASA astronauts would return to the moon by 2020. China continued this path, and when the Obama administration changed priorities, and moved the lunar program, focusing on more distant space bodies, on asteroids and Mars.
The first two Chang’e spacecraft were orbiters that revolved around the moon. Chang’e-3 landed on the Moon in December 2013, and China joined the United States and the former Soviet Union as the only countries to successfully land on the Moon. In January 2019, Chang’e-4 became the first spacecraft to land on the far side of the moon. His moon rover, called Utu 2, is still in operation, studying lunar geology almost two years later. China is now the only country to successfully land on the moon in the 21st century, and has done so three times. This required scientific and technological advances that China had never achieved before.
It remains an open question when China will announce that it is starting a program to send its taikonauts to the moon. I suppose that we will find out the answer to this question within the next year. To a large extent, this will depend on the progress of the tests of Elon Musk’s Starship, which in one of its modifications will be lunar. When test samples #starship and #super heavy LV make successful landings in Boca Chica several times, then, probably, China will announce the beginning of its manned lunar program. And most likely, in fact, this work is already underway. This is China.
China sees its flights to the moon as more than just a showcase for its space technology and national pride. He sees the Moon as a base, first a robotic and then possibly a human outpost, that will support space exploration for decades to come.
Lieutenant General Zhang Yulin
Another senior official in China’s space program, Bao Weimin of the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, expressed the once seemingly fantastic idea last year that
China also plans to build its own orbiting space station, and offer astronauts from other countries to work there. Their station will compete with the International Space Station (ISS), created and operated by Russia and # the United States. What will #russia do in this case. «Hang out», choosing who to cooperate with, or cooperate with everyone, or can you make your own national project?
Dear readers, do not forget to click the button
Your participation is very important to us!