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China’s Space Plans Play Into India-Pakistan Tensions on Earth

Long March-2F rocket, carrying the Shenzhou-16 Manned Space Flight Mission, lifts off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in China's northwestern Gansu province, on May 30, 2023, heading to the Tiangong space station. Hector RETAMAL / AFP

If China’s upcoming mission to the moon succeeds, it will become the first country to collect samples from the dark side of the moon. China’s National Space Administration said planning for the Chang’e-6 mission is going smoothly.

The mission will be notable for also carrying a Pakistani research satellite. Pakistan’s CubeSat will be launched into the moon’s orbit during the 2024 mission. Chang’e-6 will also carry scientific payloads from the European Space Agency, Italy, and France.

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