Elon Musk Praised China's Space Program As 'More Advanced Than Most People Realize' Ahead Of Successful Shenzhou-16 Launch

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Monday commended China’s space program, hours before the country launched three astronauts to its space station.

What Happened: “The China space program is far more advanced than most people realize,” Musk wrote. The CEO was replying to Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield. Hadfield had shared an article on an interview given by chief designer of China’s lunar exploration program Wu Weiren.

Why It Matters: Earlier today, China sent three astronauts to its space station- the Tiangong space station- as part of its Shenzhou-16 mission- the country’s 11th crewed mission. The rocket lifted off at 9:31 a.m. China Standard Time from Gobi Desert and was streamed by South China Morning Post.

China now plans to send astronauts to the moon before 2030, Associated Press reported on Monday, citing China Manned Space Agency Deputy Director Lin Xiqiang.

Meanwhile, the United States is expecting to send astronauts to the moon for the second time by 2025-end with the Artemis III mission.

Last month, NASA and the Canadian Space Agency named the four astronauts who will be part of their Artemis II mission- Reid WisemanVictor Glover, Christina Hammock Koch, and Jeremy Hansen.

The four chosen astronauts will fly around the moon aboard the Orion Spacecraft and will be the first humans to venture farthest from the Earth’s low earth orbit since NASA’s Apollo 17 mission in 1972. Artemis II is scheduled for November 2024 and is the second of the two test flights planned before U.S.’s return to the lunar surface.

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Read More: Elon Musk’s Starship Expected To Take Off Again After 2 Months, Reach Orbit

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