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Chinese Spacemen to Reach Moon in 15 Years
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China has possessed the technical capacity to send spacemen to the moon in 15 years, a leading rocket expert said on Tuesday.

Huang Chunping, the chief launch vehicle designer of the country's manned spaceflight program, told Xinhua that China is well capable to send manned spacecraft to the moon in 15 years given an adequate funding and punctual project launching.

"The goal to land spacemen on the moon can surely be achieved in 15 years, though some unexpected difficulties could appear," said Huang at the ongoing annual full session of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country's top political advisory body.

Huang acknowledged that the success of a moon walk depends largely on the development of the rocket technology, adding he has "full confidence" on the development of China's rocket industry.

The expert said China is among the world's leading rocket club together with the United States, Russia and Europe.

While admitting there is still gap between China's Long March launchers and the carrier rockets of the United States and Russia, Huang said the Long March series are "slightly" better than the European Space Agency's Ariane rockets.

However, something unexpected could occur, since the program is a complicated procedure, Huang said.

China carried out its maiden piloted space flight in October 2003, making the country the third in the world following the former Soviet Union and the United States to have put men into space.

(Xinhua News Agency March 6, 2007)

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