China presented a grandiose plan to create a habitable lunar base

by alex

The lunar station will turn into a research hub for space exploration

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) presented a video illustrating the concept of the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS) project. This initiative aims to establish a habitable base on the Moon within the next few decades.

The presentation took place on April 24 as part of the annual celebration of Space Day in China. The ILRS project was jointly announced by China and Russia in 2021, but at the moment China is leading efforts to implement it and is actively attracting international partners. Russia, Venezuela, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Belarus, South Africa, Egypt, Thailand and Nicaragua have already joined the initiative.

The presentation showcased a variety of missions, including lunar sample retrieval operations, landers, lunar rovers, and orbital satellite support. These elements correspond to the planned missions of «Chang'e-6» and «Chang'e-7», the launches of which are scheduled for the near future and 2027, respectively.

Together with the mission «Chang'e-8» these will form the ILRS base model around 2028. This will be followed by the deployment of communications infrastructure, power generation and other equipment, which will be transformed into a vast inhabited lunar outpost.

According to Chinese sources, ILRS is designed as a comprehensive scientific and experimental base for interdisciplinary and multi-purpose lunar research. It will be capable of long-term autonomous operation both on the lunar surface and in orbit.

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«The Moon serves as a starting point, and the International Lunar Research Station will provide a platform for long-term scientific exploration, work and residence, paving the way for future human exploration of deeper space and intellectual preparation for missions to Mars and other distant regions& ;mdash; said Wu Weiren, chief designer of the Chinese lunar program, in an interview with China Central Television (CCTV).

Китай презентовал грандиозный план создания обитаемой лунной базы

The ILRS project will be implemented in two stages. At the first stage, by 2035, complex scientific facilities with basic functions and the necessary infrastructure will be created around the south pole of the Moon. At the second stage, it is planned to build a full-scale, well-equipped and stably functioning base by 2045.

A curious detail was the presence of a retired NASA spacecraft in the background, which seemed to be taking off from the launch pad. This raises questions given that the shuttles were retired in 2011, NASA is largely prohibited from working with Chinese organizations, and China itself is developing its own launch vehicles for the lunar program.

The unveiling of this ambitious project came on what was designated China Space Day 2016 to commemorate the launch of China's first satellite, Dong Fang Hong 1, in 1970 and to highlight the country's growing space ambitions.< /p>

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