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The Once and Future Moon

China and the Moon

19 Jun 2012, 09:37 UTC
China and the Moon
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With the weekend launch of the latest Shenzhou spacecraft and its successful rendezvous and docking with an orbiting space station, world attention is once again focused on China’s flourishing space program. Although China’s human spaceflight efforts currently focus on low Earth orbit, in recent years they have sent two robotic orbital spacecraft to the Moon [...]

Shenzhou 9 lifts off for rendezvous and docking in space
With the weekend launch of the latest Shenzhou spacecraft and its successful rendezvous and docking with an orbiting space station, world attention is once again focused on China’s flourishing space program. Although China’s human spaceflight efforts currently focus on low Earth orbit, in recent years they have sent two robotic orbital spacecraft to the Moon and have announced their intentions for a lunar lander/rover mission. These efforts lead many in the west to speculate that a presence on the Moon is a likely and realistic goal for China’s space future. In terms of the possible purpose for such lunar efforts, things are little more vague. Most assume that China will go to the Moon for reasons similar to the geopolitical motives that impelled America to undertake the Apollo missions. While some actually welcome China’s ...

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