China Eyes Human Mission to Moon in 2036

Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University
Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

China is eying a human landing on the moon in about 20 years.

China wants to put astronauts on the moon by 2036, a senior space official said, the latest goal in China’s ambitious lunar exploration program.

China must “raise its abilities and use the next 15 to 20 years to realize manned lunar exploration goals, and take a firm step for the Chinese people in breaking ground in the utilization of space”, Lieutenant General Zhang Yulin, deputy commander of the China Manned Space Program, said.

The paper cited experts saying China needed first to develop a powerful enough rocket to lift a payload of at least 100 metric tons into low Earth orbit. It also needs more advanced technology, including new space suits, for a lunar mission.

China’s space budget is still only about one-tenth of the United States’ outlays, officials have said. According to Chinese state media, China spends about $2 billion a year on its space program, though details are vague.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Someone has start looking at Bigellow and Space X hardware in the coming years and realize it can be done ‘then/now’ and for far less than any national program could dream of. Of course the goal with China is to do it all in house. I understand where they come from on that issue, but it can go too far.

  • Andrew_M_Swallow

    NASA’s Lunar_CATALYST and NextSTEPS programs could get the USA back to the Moon in about a decade. A Moon base built using Bigelow B330DS modules about 15-20 years time.

  • The excitement and speed of this space race is almost too much for me to handle!

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Yeah, I think something like that might really happen. We might begin to see some real frontier dynamics take hold fairly soon.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    The problem with the US g is it wants to use space as a means of meshing bureaucracies. How that process squares with the dynamics of Space X and BO, is going to be really interesting to see.

  • passinglurker

    so they pushed it back? this sounds like a disguised push back of previously promised schedules…

  • DJN

    I’d love to see commercial space greeting the arrival of the Chinese on the moon with a steaming bowl of Won Ton soup served up in a Bigelow hab.

  • windbourne

    Some of the postings here are interesting but really miss key items.
    1) the large costs for rocket launches are fixed costs, not the variable. This is esp true for spacex.. As such, spacex needs lots of launches of their systems.F9 and FH will get plenty of launches by commercial and gov space. As F9R brings price down, we will see a lot more commercial/gov launches to spacex.
    2) spacex is announcing their BFR this Sept. This should take 150-250 tonnes to Leo by 2025, if not by 2020. Of course, this is not suitable for commercial/general launches. I n addition, mars-earth alignment is every 2 years. So, spacex will only launch a couple of times every 2 years? I seriously doubt that.spacex needs to find another use for it where they can launch every quarter, if not monthly.
    3) Bigelow wants private space stations.question is, how much non-us gov sales will they get? So far 7 have expressed an interest.i would guess NASA will buy a few slots. None of that is enough to justify putting up alpha by itself.
    4) Bigelow, blur origin, ula, etc have said they want on the moon.once a lunar station is announced, BA should get plenty of gov sales for alpha.many nations will insist on getting there as well.
    5) SLS is far too expensive and small for going lunar. OTOH, BFR is perfect for sending supplies to the moon.

    All of this points to fact that private space will be going soon, as in 2022 time frame.

  • Where’s the disguise? Looks like they looked at their actual progress and saw how much was in their wallet and added ~15 years to the schedule.

  • TomDPerkins

    ” This should take 150-250 tonnes to Leo by 2025, if not by 2020. ”

    Reusably. In an expendable mode ( 2nd stage only expended? ) the LEO capacity should be around 550 tons.

  • windbourne

    10x what FH takes up. That is just insane. And if used only for Mars, it would be as worthless as SLS. Far too expensive.

    But if going to the moon every quarter or month, it will be cheap.

  • PK Sink

    WOOHOO!!! 😉

  • Sam Moore

    With western news about the Chinese space programme, there’s a depressing pattern of ‘Chinese space scientist says they want x in y’ becoming ‘china is going to do x in y’. I’m not aware of any real ‘promise’ to do anything of this sort outside of those kinds of stories.

  • Vladislaw

    I believe Shotwell said the 200 tons was expendable mode. That takes the landing hit .. around 150 tons to LEO in reusable mode.

  • TomDPerkins

    When did she say that?

    200 vs 150 would be a very different ratio than for either the 9FT or FH.

  • Vladislaw

    Wow these governments and long term pronouncements. Russia is going to moon, sometime … and so is India.. long term. China is going too .. in 20 years… along with America going to mars .. in a couple decades.

    Until these governments FINALLY obtain standard, domestic, commercial, space transportation systems, i really doubt no one is going no where.

    Some members of congress and the executive branch “get’s it” and have slowly been pushing it through. Once the Nation has domestic commercial transportation for cargo and passengers along with the first commercial destination, Bigelow’s Alpha facility, it will be the tipping point and a competitive, independent market place will be started outside of NASA and congressional special interests.

    The rest of the planet will have to follow and create their commercial sectors or they will be buying services from American service suppliers.

    The spiral outward now will just be nothing more than a selling point of who will fly you how high, how far, how fast … the same selling points with any and all forms of transportation.

  • Vladislaw

    Looking for the link now .. the Falcon 9 takes a 30% hit for reusablity was my understanding.. 140 tons on 200 .. I thought I had read that using the different fuel was going to be a bit of a gain over RP1 ? So I back of the napkin did the 150.

  • How dare you connect plans with actual reality! Whenever I wish for something it magically happens, and I see no reason why that can’t happen in space. As a child, I wanted the Tooth Fairy to give me money for my teeth, AND IT HAPPENED! I want Moon and Mars development to happen, so they will, regardless of actual funding levels and work that’s actually being done.

    (yeah, LOTS of people/countries PROPOSE, very few actually DISPOSE)