China's 'space Dream': A Long March To The Moon And Beyond
Beijing, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 16th Oct, 2021 ) :The arrival of three astronauts at China's new space station on Saturday marks a landmark step in its space ambitions, its longest crewed mission to date.
Here is a look at China's space programme, and where it is headed: - Mao's vow - Soon after the Soviet Union launched Sputnik in 1957, Chairman Mao Zedong pronounced: "We too will make satellites." It took more than a decade, but in 1970, China launched its first satellite on a Long March rocket.
Human spaceflight took decades longer, with Yang Liwei becoming the first Chinese "taikonaut" in 2003.
But it went smoothly, with Yang orbiting the Earth 14 times during a 21-hour flight aboard the Shenzhou 5.
China has launched seven crewed missions since.
The Tiangong-1 lab was launched in 2011.
The craft was also used for medical experiments and, most importantly, tests intended to prepare for the construction of a space station.
That was followed by the "Jade Rabbit" lunar rover in 2013, which initially appeared a dud when it turned dormant and stopped sending signals back to Earth.
It made a dramatic recovery, however, ultimately surveying the Moon's surface for 31 months -- well beyond its expected lifespan.
Besides a space station, China is also planning to build a base on the Moon, and the country's National Space Administration said it aims to launch a crewed lunar mission by 2029.
This was followed by one that landed on the near side of the Moon last year, raising a Chinese flag on the lunar surface.
The unmanned spacecraft returned to Earth in December with rocks and soil -- the first lunar samples collected in four decades.
And in February 2021, the first images of Mars were sent back by the five-tonne Tianwen-1, which then landed a rover on the Martian surface in May that has since started to explore the surface of the Red Planet.
The Chinese space station Tiangong -- meaning "heavenly palace" -- will need a total of around 11 missions to bring more parts and assemble them in orbit.
Once completed, it is expected to remain in low Earth orbit at between 400 and 450 kilometres (250 and 280 miles) above our planet for at least 10 years -- realising an ambition to maintain a long-term human presence in space.
It is not yet clear how extensive that cooperation will be.