China is making progress in its plans to send humans on the Moon as their new spaceship re-enters Earth’s atmosphere and lands successfully on Friday.
On Tuesday, a spaceship called Long March 5B was launched. This has now descended with three parachutes to soften the impact on landing. In order to cushion the landing, even more airbags were deployed. Spacecraft designer Guo Bin declared for CCTV that Long March 5B is partially reusable, and a foldable shield was designed for it.
During the flight itself, a spacecraft happens to need docking with the space stations. This is where the foldable shield comes in, as it will spread out, thus exposing the rendezvous, docking sensor, and mechanism in the meantime.
CASC (China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp) has declared that the speed of re-entry of the spacecraft was higher than 9 km/s. Space News has mentioned that the 67-hour long mission had the purpose of testing capabilities in deep space.
China is closer to putting a human on the Moon
A core stage, which is an external unit, weighing 20 metric tons, is still in orbit and is estimated to re-enter without any remote control on Sunday due to the force of atmospheric drag.
Officials have, in the past, suggested that the crewed lunar mission is in plans for the 2030s, but details about the project continue to remain unclear. The plans for launchings manned vehicles are, however, believed to be in an early stage.
This spaceship had on board ten loads needed to perform experiments. One of these included the depositing of seeds on the Van Allen radiation belt, to find out the result of exposure to radiation. Some other experiments include experimentation of 3D printing of composite fibers in space and the impact of microgravity.
Until now, only 12 humans have successfully walked on the surface of the Moon. None of these have been there since Harrison Schmitt and Gene Cernan, which landed on the Moon in December 1972. All these 12 were American astronauts. The country’s space agency, NASA, now has planned another mission to go to Earth’s satellite.