This week, China aims to roll out its Chang’e-4 spaceship to the far side of the Moon. The plan is to launch a rover for the first time on the Moon’s dark side. Banned from direct communication with our planet, the rover and lander will rely on Queqiao communication satellite by China blasted off in May 2018.
The lander will also perform the first radio astronomy tests from the far side of the lunar surface. It will also perform first experiments to check if plants will grow in the lunar low-gravity environment.
The final aim of the CNSA (China National Space Administration) is to generate a Moon base for future exploration by humans, even though it has not declared when that may take place. One of the tests will see if thale-cress seeds and potato photosynthesize & sprout in a climate-controlled sealed environment on the lunar surface in the low gravity.
On a related note, China’s first effort to get to the orbit through a private launch firm failed last month. The Beijing-located startup LandSpace made an attempt to first blast-off its 3-stage Zhuque-1 rocket in Gobi desert from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. While the rocket lifted off successfully, it failed to get to the orbit.
In a post to Weibo (the Chinese microblogging site) through The Financial Times, LandSpace claims that while the blast-off was successful, a flaw took place during the 3rd stage, and the rocket did not reach to the orbit. In spite of that setback, the firm claimed the flight as a victory: it underlined the fact that the first 2 stages acted as expected, and claimed that it was the first private space company in China to get a license for rocket launch. The firm claims that the rocket will “carry on shifting forward.”
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