Friday, 21 April 2006

China's Lunar Plans

From Xinhua :
BEIJING, April 17 -- When can China realize manned moon landing? Ouyang Ziyuan, chief scientist of China's moon probing project and academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, indicated that at present, the United States and the European Space Agency plan to make a moon landing in 2018 and 2023 respectively, while China will not implement its manned moon landing test and joint lunar base construction with related countries until 2017.

Prof. Ouyang revealed that 10 countries including the US, Russia and Ukraine have instituted a plan to revisit the moon by now. When can Chinese astronauts land on the moon? "At present, we are still working on the initial planning of the moon probing project, which includes probing, landing and stationing; all are unmanned programs. During the second phase, China will strive to achieve the overall scientific goal of soft landing on the moon as well as inspection and exploration by a moon rover. The third step will serve to provide statistics for the follow-up manned moon probing and lunar base site selection.
Interesting timing. And a firm indication that the unmanned missions already publicised have the specific purpose of preparing for the establishment of a permanent base.

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