Buyer Data Image (Source: NASA)
China is planning an ambitious “one stone and two birds” project for the outer planets of Jupiter and Uranus, launching a pair of spacecraft simultaneously with a single rocket around 2030.
The mission is called Tianyuan 4, and the two largest Jupiter-bound probes will be sent to Uranus, while a smaller spacecraft will be sent to explore Uranus.
Launched simultaneously by Changjun 5 rockets, the pair use two flybys of Venus and two flybys of Earth to place the spacecraft on an outer solar system trajectory before determining their intended paths.
China previously said it was in the planning stages of Jupiter exploration, but at the 2022 International Space Conference in Paris on Sept. 21, Wang Qiong of the China National Aeronautics and Space Administration (CNSA) announced the establishment of a new Center for Space Technology and Lunar Exploration. . Details.
The main spacecraft will be designed to study the Jupiter system and eventually enter orbit around Callisto to explore its more distant Galilean moons.
According to the CNSA statement, a small spacecraft weighing a few hundred kilograms will make a long journey to Uranus, indicating that the spacecraft could fly close to the asteroid on its way away from the Sun.
“Scientific targets are still being explored,” CNSA’s Wang Qiong said after the presentation. Previous announcements have focused on extensive surveys of Callisto as the main target, which could reveal much about the history of the Moon and Jupiter, or irregular satellite surveys of Jupiter, which could provide insight into the solar system’s early days.
CNSA had previously considered landers as part of the Carilsto-focused mission profile, but Wang says the latest concept does not include landers other than orbital ones.
Meanwhile, China launched its first independent interplanetary mission in 2020, sending the Tianyuan-1 orbiter and Colony spacecraft to Mars.
Tienwon 2 will launch around 2025 and land on Kamo’oalewa, an underground satellite orbiting the Sun in Earth orbit, collecting samples and returning around 2026.
Tianyuan 3 will be a complex double-launched modular Mars return mission, expected to deliver the first samples collected from Mars to Earth as early as 2028.
Wang also added that with the plan to build an international lunar research base in the 2030s, “the goal is to promote the use of manpower, create a new kind of international cooperation in space exploration, and promote the peaceful use of spacecraft.” space”.
Or columnist Kwangsik Lee Science [email protected]
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