This week the China National Space Administration (CNSA), the national space agency of China launched a crowdsourcing initiative to find novel ideas for the design of manned lunar surface landing and ascent vehicles.
“Manned lunar exploration is an important part of the manned space program,” said Zhou Jianping, chief designer of China’s manned space program, in a recent interview. “The public is welcome to provide their ideas for the development of the Chinese space program.”
Future Lunar Missions
There has been some excitement in China since it was announced last June (by Yang Liwei, the first Chinese national in space) that the country was gearing up for a manned lunar exploration mission.
It is expected that it will include a manned spaceship, a propulsion vehicle and a lunar lander. From this vehicle astronauts will step down on to the surface of the moon.
Involving the public in its space program is just one of a number of exciting developments for China’s space endeavours. Currently, it is also looking to build a space station that will serve as a platform for scientific experiments to benefit Chinese society and economy and the rest of humanity. So said Liwei in an interview in January.
The Chinese large modular space station is set to be put into low Earth orbit around 2019/2020 and the process to select 17 astronauts for missions to the station has already started.