Science

China's space test hits snag with capsule 'anomaly'

China's space test hits snag with capsule 'anomaly'”

China successfully launched a prototype of its next-generation manned spacecraft - without astronauts - along with a new version of its heavy-lift Long March 5 rocket on Tuesday, its space agency said.

According to daily Global Times, China Manned Space Agency said the capsule "experienced failure during its re-entry to earth due to an unknown malfunction".

China's new large carrier rocket Long March-5B blasts off from Wenchang Space Launch Center in south China's Hainan Province, 5 May, 2020. It carried the next-generation crew capsule prototype created to replace the Shenzhou spacecraft, to transport astronauts to its planned space station in low-Earth orbit.

The cargo capsule was not created to transport astronauts, only equipment.

This is a significant mission for China's space program, and an interesting comparison point for the ongoing Commercial Crew missions by NASA, which is approaching a major milestone with the first demonstration launch of SpaceX's Commercial Crew spacecraft with astronauts on board on May 27.

The United States is so far the only country to have successfully sent humans to the Moon.

A modified version of China's most powerful rocket, the Long March 5B is 53.7 metres (176 feet) tall.

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"The new spaceship will give China an advantage in the area of human spaceflight over Japan and Europe", said Chen Lan, an independent analyst at GoTaikonauts.com, which specialises in China's space programme.

China stated Tuesday it would launch a brand new spacecraft at 6pm (1000 GMT), in a take a look at of its ambitions to function a everlasting house station and ship astronauts to the Moon.

Beijing has launched a number of house automobiles since 1999, the Shenzhou, which had been modelled after Russia's Soyuz.

But 25 tonnes is enough to hoist a space station module and that's what China wants to do by 2022. Beijing has been planning to build its own space station for decades as an alternative to the International Space Station, from which China has been excluded by the United States over security concerns.

The orbiting lab will have three modules, with living and working quarters and two annexes for scientific experiments.

China also became the first nation to land on the far side of the Moon in January 2019, deploying a lunar rover that has driven some 450 metres so far.



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