China’s Space Programme: Future Projects

tiangong space station


Chinese manned space station programme. Development from 2010. First core module scheduled for launch in 2018. Assembly expected to complete by 2022.

CZ-7-Y1 MPCV re-entry capsule

Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle

New-generation manned spacecraft for both LEO and deep space missions. Development began in 2013 and expected to fly in the 2020s.


Mars Probe

Robotic Mars mission, consisting of an orbiter, a lander and a rover. Launch planned for Q3 2021 and soft landing on Mars in 2022.

Manned Lunar Programme

The Chinese space industry has been studying the feasibility of a mission to land human on the Moon, followed by a man-tended lunar base. So far only conceptual studies have been carried out, with no programme being officially approved by the Chinese government. Relevant pre-research is currently underway, including the development of high-thrust rocket engines for a super heavy-lift launcher.

Long March 8

Medium-lift launch vehicle intended for Sun-Synchronous Orbit (SSO) missions, with a payload capacity of 3 to 4.5 tonnes to SSO. The launch vehicle is currently in concept evaluation and is expected to make its debut flight in 2020.

Long March 9

Super heavy-lift launch vehicle intended for future manned lunar landing and deep space exploration missions. The launch vehicle is described as a large rocket roughly 100 m in length and 8 to 9 m in diameter, assisted by two or four 3 m diameter solid rocket boosters, with a lift-off thrust of 5,200 to 5,500 tonnes. The launcher will be capable of delivering 130 tonnes of payload to Low Earth Orbit (LEO), exactly the same as the heavier Block 2 version of the NASA Space Launch System (SLS).

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