China Space Programme for Mars Mission in July

China Space mission to Mars is one among a number of new space projects being pursued by the country.

The Chinese mission will land a robotic rover on the surface of surface. China is targeting July launch for Mars mission. It will include landing a remote-controlled robot. Beijing has invested many billions of dollars in its ambitious space programme.

Beijing had been planning the Mars mission for sometime this year, but China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) has confirmed it could come as early as July.

This big project is progressing as planned and we are targeting a launch in July. CASC is the main contractor for China’s space programme. Called “Tianwen”, the Chinese mission will put a probe into orbit around Mars and land the robotic rover to explore and analyse the surface.

It will take several months to cover the roughly 55 million kilometres (31 million miles) distance between Earth and Mars, which is ever-changing due to their planetary orbits.

China is targeting ambitious plans for a Mars mission which will include landing a remote-controlled robot on the surface of the red planet, the company in charge of the project has said.

Beijing has invested billions of dollars in its space programme in an effort to catch up with its rival the United States and affirm its status as a major world power. The Mars mission is among a number of new space projects China is pursuing, including putting Chinese astronauts on the moon and having a space station by 2022.

China has already carried out a similar mission to the Moon, and in January 2019 landed a small rover on the dark side of the lunar surface, becoming the first nation to do so. The US, which has already sent four exploratory vehicles to Mars, intends to launch a fifth this summer. It should arrive around February 2021.

The United Arab Emirates plans to launch the first Arab probe to the Red Planet on July 15 from Japan.

The China National Space Administration stated that their long-term goals are:

  • Improve their standing in the world of space science
  • Establish a crewed space station
  • Crewed missions to the Moon
  • Establish a crewed lunar base
  • Robotic mission to Mars
  • Exploit Earth-Moon space for industrial development.

Dual-use technologies and outer space

The PRC is a member of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and a signatory to all United Nations treaties and conventions on space, with the exception of the 1979 Moon Treaty. The United States government has long been resistant to the use of PRC launch services by American industry due to concerns over alleged civilian technology transfer that could have dual-use military applications to countries such as North Korea, Iran or Syria, and announced an official embargo against the PRC in 2000.

Thus, financial retaliatory measures have been taken on many occasions against several Chinese space companies.

A larger basic permanent space station would be the third and last phase of Project 921. This will be a modular design with an eventual weight of around 60 tons, to be completed sometime before 2020. The first section, designated Tiangong 3, is scheduled for launch after Tiangong 2. Tiangong 3 will weigh 22 tons and be 18.1 metres long. Additional modules will be connected over several missions to build the space station.

This could also be the beginning of China’s crewed international cooperation, the existence of which was officially disclosed for the first time after the launch of Shenzhou 7. The Chinese space station is scheduled to be completed in 2020.