China will send its first crewed mission on Mars in 2033 according to the country’s leading rocket manufacturer. This is part of China’s ambitious plan for the large-scale development of Mars and increasing tensions with the U.S. in order to be the dominant space race.

China plans to send crewed missions on Mars in 2033 to 2035, 2037 to 2041, and 2043, stated Wang Xiaojun (head of the state-owned China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology), during a conference.

Wang stated that China envisions establishing a permanent presence on Mars and large-scale resource development. A fleet of vessels will be able to transport it between Earth and Mars.

Crewed missions will be preceded by robotic missions that will scout potential base locations, sample the surface, and build resource-extracting gear.

This announcement will increase the tension between Washington and Beijing. It comes on the heels of several successful Chinese space missions. One of these saw China become the only country outside the United States to successfully launch three astronauts into its new space station at Tiangong.

NASA is the U.S. space agency. It is currently developing technology to send humans to Mars by 2030.