Artist’s concept of a Shenzhou spacecraft docked with the Tiangong 1 space lab.
Credit: CNSA

Chinese space plans gain focus in Communist conclave

Posted: November 11, 2012

China’s next human space mission will launch in June and dock with the orbiting Tiangong 1 space lab, and construction of the first Chinese lunar rover is on pace for launch in the second half of 2013, according to state media reports.

The next crewed spaceflight will include three astronauts and last for about 15 days, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency, which on Saturday quoted the deputy commander of China’s manned space program on the sidelines of this week’s Communist Party congress in Beijing.

The ruling party assembly will shepherd the country through a once-in-a-decade power transfer. Chinese vice president Xi Jinping is expected take over China’s top leadership post from Hu Jintao, who has been at the helm since 2003.

On Sunday, Xinhua reported China will launch its first robotic moon lander in the second half of 2013. The Chang’e 3 mission, which follows two Chinese moon orbiters, will make a rocket-assisted landing and deploy a small nuclear-powered rover.

Read more: Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | Chinese space plans gain focus in Communist conclave.

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