China recently made history by successfully landing a spacecraft on Mars. The event marked an important milestone in China’s space program and launched a new international exploration effort on the Red Planet. In addition, China, with the recent and successful landing of the Martian rover Tianwen-1 Zhurong, would have more ambitious plans. In any case, this is what Wang Xiaojing, president of the Chinese Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT), said on Wednesday in St. Petersburg, Russia, during the Global Conference on Space Exploration (GLEX).
A three-phase plan …
The GLEX conference was organized by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) and ROSCOSMOS, the Russian state enterprise for space activities. A conference that aims to be a melting pot to discuss and share recent results, current challenges and innovative solutions in space exploration. On Wednesday, Wang Xiaojing, invited CALT president, made some important remarks. According to the scientist, China is studying ways to bring astronauts to Mars, bring them back, and most of all, potentially establish a long-term presence on the Red Planet.
So a three phase plan. And whose first two, essentially technical and technological, already offer great promise of success with the recent success of sending three Chinese astronauts to the Tianhe space station. It was because the Chinese Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, which had the Chinese expertise for this type of mission, had finished extensive research on mission architecture.
In particular, with “examining the launch times available, the types of orbit that the spacecraft can use to reach Mars and the most suitable propulsion system to allow short and long stays and regular and repeated visits.”
The real challenge would be in the third phase, that of colonization. To do this, the engineers envisioned the development and use of large resources, the creation of an “econosphere.” According to Chinese scientists, the “econosphere” phase provides for the development of reusable fleets of spacecraft, propellant depots for refueling spacecraft in Martian orbit, and the use of cyclical orbit.