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Lunar probe program has no military purposes
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China's first lunar probe program has no military motives, either in its engineering or scientific objectives, said a spokesman with the China National Space Administration (CNSA) on Thursday.


"China has undertaken astronautical activities under the principle of 'peacefully utilizing space'," Pei Zhaoyu, the spokesman, told a press conference in Beijing.


"The purpose of China's space program, including missions to probe lunar and outer space, is to explore the universe and benefit humanity," Pei said, adding that China's lunar probe is an open and transparent program.


"The program's objective, general plan, technical means as well as the major developers and manufacturers, have all been publicized," he said. "We will also keep the public informed about any major progress in research and development."


The spokesman said that China is looking forward to carrying out active cooperation and communication with any other countries regarding exploration of lunar and outer space.


"Actually, the Chang'e-1 program has already involved eight space experts from China's Hong Kong and Macao regions," Pei said, noting that the experts have joined an engineering commission consisting of 122 scientists to research and apply the information collected by the Chang'e-1 satellite.


According to the program's plan, the data collected by the satellite will be given to several research institutes and some will be shared internationally one year later.


He called upon Chinese across the world, including compatriots in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, to participate in China's space program to realize the Chinese dream of exploring the universe.


Another expert said at the conference that Chinese scientists are able to fully control the satellite that will go into lunar orbit when it approaches closer to the moon. This orbit is vital to the success of the Chang'e-1 program.


"We have made many emergency plans regarding the process of sending our lunar probe so that the moon's gravity will capture it properly and send it into orbit," said Sun Zezhou, deputy chief designer of the probe. "Even if the breaking moment has to be delayed for several hours, we have alternate plans to compensate."


The Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense hosted their first press conference, and described Chang'e-'s flight conditions.


China's first lunar probe, Chang'e-1, named after a fairy-tale Chinese goddess who flew to the moon, blasted off on a Long March 3A carrier rocket on Oct. 24 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwestern Sichuan Province.


(Xinhua News Agency November 2, 2007)

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