China is developing a heavy-lift launch vehicle to support the establishment of a lunar base and a larger-scale lunar exploration mission, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation said on April 26 on Weibo.
The country is developing a heavy-lift launch vehicle with a 10-meter diameter and a lunar orbital capacity of no less than 50 tons, the company's designer, Mou Yu, said at the China Space Conference 2021.
Mou said that China is now using circumlunar rendezvous and docking to achieve a manned lunar landing and that a near-Earth orbit capacity of 27 tons is sufficient to spread the pressure of rocket launches through a comprehensive program.
The development of a heavy-lift rocket could reduce the number of circumlunar dockings and improve launch efficiency, Mou said.
The China National Space Administration announced on April 23 a partnership with Russia to build an international lunar research station.
In addition, China's lunar exploration mission Chang'e 6 will land on the back of the Moon around 2024, with sample return and exploration at the South Pole-Aitken basin.