CHINA / SOCIETY
China to probe Mars in July: CASC
Published: May 24, 2020 04:04 PM

Photo: Xinhua





China is eyeing a July launch for its first-ever Mars probe mission, via its strongest launch vehicle the Long March-5B, according to state-owned rocket giant space contractor  China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) on Sunday.

According to a press release the CASC sent to the Global Times, the Mars probe project was approved by national authorities in 2016, and was scheduled to be delivered by the end of the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020.) The project is being carried out on schedule.

The Mars probe is developed by the China Academy of Space Technology and the Long March-5 carrier rocket is developed by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology. Both companies are affiliated with the CASC.

China aims to achieve orbiting, landing and roving of the Red Planet all at the same time. 

The Mars probe will be made up of an orbiter that will provide relay communication services and a combination of a Mars lander and rover. There will be 13 kinds of payloads onboard the Mars probe - seven for the orbiter and six for the Mars rover, according to the CASC. 

The contractor did not reveal details of the payloads in the statement.

Studies of the space environment, geographical features, and surface structure of Mars will be carried out during the mission.

The launch window for Mars exploration opens this summer, and China's Mars probe, codenamed Tianwen-1, is one of the remaining three projects, as ExoMars, a cooperation program between Europe and Russia, has previously announced to be delayed to 2022.

The other two Mars missions left are the Mars2020 by the US and the Hope Mars Mission by the United Arab Emirates, which are also scheduled for July this year.


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