China is now capable of sending a lunar probe to the moon with it existing carrier rocket, but it still needs a stronger carrier rocket to fulfill the mission of both sending a lunar probe to the moon and enabling it to return to the earth, said a leading Chinese carrier rocket scientist for its manned spacecraft program.
Sources noted that China is thinking of developing a new-generation of rocket carriers with a much stronger propelling power to fulfill the mission.
Huang Chunping, chief commander of the carrier rocket system of China's manned spacecraft program, said the technology and carrying capacity of the country's carrier rocket has overtaken the capacities of the first round of carrier rockets of the US and the former Soviet Union at a time when they began probing the moon three to four decades ago.
Huang, a National Committee member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said China's space rocket carrying capacity has landed itself on the top ranks in the world. So far, the country's Long-March series of carrier rockets have made 69 launches, and 63 of them were crowned with success.
The Long-March 2-F rocket, used to launch the Shenzhou spacecraft, is capable of fulfilling the mission for a lunar probe provided that it is installed with an additional propeller.
(Xinhua News Agency March 9, 2003)