China next moon missions get green light

The Chinese government has approved three robotic moon missions that will lay the groundwork for a permanent lunar base.

On September 10, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) announced that the next spacecraft, Chang'e 6, was nearly finished.

China has made significant advances in lunar exploration since launching its robotic moon programme in 2004.

"There are numerous technological issues to be addressed."

Chang'e 6, the first of the new missions, was originally designed as a backup to the 2020 Chang'e 5 lunar sample-return mission.

Chang'e 7 will then aim for the lunar south pole. An orbiter, lander, rover, and relay satellite will be part of the mission.

Chang'e 8 will launch later this decade and will be used to test 3D printing and local resource technologies.

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