“Dream Vessel” will fly to the Moon: China chooses names for the lunar program

The Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA) has chosen names for the equipment that will be involved in the lunar program. The manned spacecraft was named Mengzhou (Dream Vessel), and the lunar landing module was named Lanyue (Embracing the Moon).

The names for the vessels were chosen during a competition announced in August 2023. In total, CNSA has received almost 2,000 different name variants.

Mengzhou is being developed in two main modifications. The first, weighing 14 tons, is intended to replace the Shenzhou spacecraft used to deliver people to the Chinese Tiangong orbital station. The second modification, weighing 21.6 tons, is designed for deep space missions.

The exterior of the Mengzhou spacecraft. Source: CNSA

The weight of Lanyue will be about 26 tons. It will be able to deliver two taikonauts with a rover to the lunar surface.

The appearance of the Lanyue lunar lander. Source: CNSA

At the moment, the CNSA’s plan is as follows. The Mengzhou crew and Lanyue will be sent to the Moon by two ChangZheng-10 superheavy rockets. There they will dock, after which a pair of taikonauts will board Lanyue and land on the Moon. Then the taikonauts will take off, dock with the Mengzhou spacecraft again and return to Earth.

Currently, ChangZheng-10, Mengzhou and Lanyue are at the prototype development stage. According to statements by Chinese officials, the work is progressing successfully. CNSA expects to carry out a manned landing on the Moon by 2030.

You can learn more about how China studies the moon from this article.

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