“Such a big plan to achieve orbiting, landing and the deployment of a rover in one mission will make history,” said Zhang Rongqiao, chief designer of the mission. “Only by completing this Mars probe mission can China say it has embarked on the exploration of deep space in the true sense.”
The China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) is developing the orbiter and rover, which will be launched by the Long March-5 rocket. The new booster will make its inaugural flight later this year.
It will be China’s second attempt to send a mission to Mars. The Chinese Yinghuo-1 orbiter was a sub-satellite aboard Russia’s Phobos-Grunt mission launched in November 2011. However, the mission never left Earth orbit due to a rocket engine failure.
Officials said pressure mounted on China to launch a Mars mission after rival India successfully placed a spacecraft in orbit around the Red Planet in 2014.
China Unveils Ambitious Plans to Explore the Universe: http://english.cri.cn/12394/2016/04/25/2702s925438.htm
China Headlines: China hopes to reach Mars in 2021: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2016-04/22/c_135304596.htm
The sky is not the limit: China’s Mars plan: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2016-04/22/c_135304660.htm