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China to Launch Lunar Probe Satellite in 2007

China is expected to launch its first ever lunar probe satellite in 2007, given that the country's Moon exploration project has so far been proceeding smoothly, according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).

Addressing a forum on space technology in Beijing Tuesday, Ye Peijian, chief designer of the satellite with the CASC, said that dubbed "Chang'e-I," China's first lunar orbiter is scheduled to be launched in 2007 for the country's first fly-by mission.

"The design of various plans that serve to meet different situations and simulation satellites is complete and all related professional experiments are proceeding," Ye said.

The research and development work of real-use satellites will begin in September, he said, noting that one to two real-use ones will be developed.

"After the lunar flight, China will carry out soft landing exploration and auto inspection missions on the Moon, with the core part being the realization of landing probes on the Moon's surface and scientific exploration," Ye said.

"A basic space flight engineering system, including that for soft landing probes and surface inspectors, should then be established," he added.

According to Ouyang Ziyuan, chief scientist of the Moon probe project, China will carry out various projects on materials, dynamics, radiation and astronomy among others.

To date, China has developed some demonstration probes for the coming Moon flight, armed with various apparatuses like a Moon-probing radar and infrared spectrum equipment.

(Xinhua News Agency August 10, 2005)

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