China outlines architecture for future crewed moon landings

HELSINKI — China has outlined a proposed architecture for getting astronauts to the moon and back as part of plans for long-term lunar exploration.

A presentation at the 2020 China Space Conference in September details infrastructure including a new launch vehicle, new-generation spacecraft and a lunar lander, along with a potential lunar orbit module and crewed roving vehicle.

The prospective mission profile laid out in the presentation involves separate launches of crewed spacecraft and a lunar landing stack. The two would then rendezvous and dock once in lunar orbit before descending to the lunar surface. 

A service module would remain in low lunar orbit and rendezvous with an ascent vehicle designed to carry astronauts from the moon’s surface. 

There is no official word from China stating that a crewed lunar landing program has been approved. No timeline was offered at the event held in Fuzhou, capital of Fujian province.


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FAA cuts the red tape for commercial rocket launches (and landings, too)

Commercial space is about to become more accessible than ever before. 

Today (Oct. 15), the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) announced that it has published a new launch and re-entry rule known as the Streamlined Launch and Re-entry Licensing Regulation-2 (SLR2). The new rule aims to increase launch and reentry access for commercial space companies while maintaining safety. 

“We’ve seen the first launch of American astronauts into orbit aboard an American-built rocket since the end of the space shuttle program in 2004, to the International Space Station,” United States Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, said in a news conference today, referring to SpaceX’s two-month Demo-2 mission, which lifted off on May 30. 

“Our country is headed towards a record year in commercial space, and our goal in finalizing this new regulation is to keep it that way,” Chao said.

“We’re cutting the red tape

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