China plans to send another team of astronauts to its Tiangong (Sky Palace) space station on Thursday. The astronauts Ye Guangfu, Li Cong and Li Guangsu are scheduled to launch into space at 8:59 p.m. local time (2:59 p.m. CEST) aboard the spacecraft “Shenzhou 18” from the Jiuquan Cosmodrome in the northwest of the People’s Republic. This was announced at a press conference broadcast on state television.

The new team will replace the current crew of the “Tiangong”, who will then return to Earth. During their six-month stay, the new crew will carry out various scientific experiments in orbit as well as several spacewalks, it said.

China has been investing heavily in its space program for years. Recently, the moon has again become the focus of large spacefaring nations such as the USA, but also Japan and India. China wants to send another unmanned probe to Earth’s satellite this spring, “Chang’e 6” (name of a moon goddess).

Manned mission to the moon by 2030

In preparation for the mission, the People’s Republic has already launched a communications satellite into lunar orbit. This is necessary so that the probe can maintain contact with the control center on Earth, because it is supposed to land in the south of the moon on the side facing away from Earth and collect soil samples there.

The People’s Republic, ruled by the Communist Party, also wants to send a manned mission to the moon by 2030. The Earth’s satellite has become interesting again for many nations because important raw materials are believed to be there.