The director of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT), Wang Xiaojun, revealed his country’s plans for a future mission to Mars.
The announcement was made at the Global Space Exploration Conference (GLEX 2021), where a three-step plan for the Asian giant was revealed; this would include the construction of bases in addition to the dispatch of manned landing missions.
In the primary stage, or the technology readiness phase, androids will be launched targeting sample return and exploration of a base site on Mars.
The next will be a manned mission to the Red Planet and a base will be built on its surface. Meanwhile, the third stage will consist of trying to move a large-scale Earth-Mars cargo fleet.
According to the academy, the schedule for these mission launches will be 2033; 2035; 2037; 2041 and 2043, among others.
The head of the agency also explained that nuclear propulsion is considered the main option for manned exploration missions to Mars.
At the same time, a Sky Ladder system is being analyzed as a starting point for space travel, in an attempt to reduce the scale of probe and transport missions to Mars. For now, the academy did not provide further details on the Sky Ladder system.
In early June, China shared the outline of its space program, which also includes collecting samples from Mars and exploring the Moon’s polar region.