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China plans more than 30 space missions in 2019 - CNET

January 31, 2019 3:40 PM PST

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Chang'e 4 checks out the far side of the moon.China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation

Landing on the dark side of the moon may be just the beginning.

China has plans to send more than 50 spacecraft into space with more than 30 launches in 2019, according to Chinese state media.

The country made history on Jan. 3 when the Chang'e 4 lunar probe landed in Von Karman crater on the moon's mysterious far side. A few hours after landing, the probe sent back the first photo of the moon's unexplored side. Chang'e 4 launched Dec. 7 and entered lunar orbit five days later.

Baohua Yang, vice president of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, said at a press conference that major missions such as the third Long March 5 large carrier rocket will be launched in July, Xinhua Net reported on Friday local time.

More importantly, the fourth carrier rocket will reportedly be designed to take the Chang'e 5 lunar probe to the moon and bring back lunar samples by the end of this year. The moon samples will be sealed in a container and taken to labs for analysis and research.

A test version of the Long March 5B carrier rocket is already under development.

The CASC didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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