China is to launch its first moon probing satellite in the next three to five years, said Zhang Qingwei, deputy head of the visiting delegation of China's first manned space mission, in an interview with Xinhua on Saturday.
Zhang, also general manager of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, said the comprehensive feasibility studies for the first-phase of the moon-probing program has been completed and the engineering operation plan has been drafted.
He said that after the successful development of satellites and launching of manned spacecraft, China is to prepare for moon probing and other outer space probing activities.
Zhang believed that the moon probing will become the third milestone of China's space technology development.
He said China is to use Long March III A carrier rocket for launching the moon probing satellite.
China's moon probing program will be divided into three phases. The first phase work will focus on obtaining three-dimensional graphs of the moon surface, making analysis on the elements of moon surface and probing space environment of the moon, he said.
The second phase of the program will send moon probing devices to the surface of the moon and the final phase is targeting on survey of the moon surface and taking back samples.
In a related development, China has been engaged in development of intelligence robot for moon probing for years.
(Xinhua News Agency November 2, 2003)