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China Develops Lunar Probe

To carry out deep space exploration with a lunar probe will be the inevitable choice of China's space program, a senior space scientist said Monday morning.


The lunar probe program will be accomplished in three steps, namely lunar orbiting, lunar landing and return from the moon, Xu Dazhe, deputy general manager of China Aerospace Science and Technology Group Ltd., said at a press conference of the State Council Information Office.


"The corporation is participating in the research and development of the Chang'e-1 lunar probe and related launch vehicle," Xu said.


He added that "Development of Chang'e-1 lunar probe is now well under way as planned."


Tang Xianming, director of China Manned Space Engineering Office, said the lunar probe program is mainly undertaken by the nation's aerospace agency. Independent from the current manned space program, the lunar probe program is another branch of China's space exploration, Tang added.


Space walk in 2007


Chinese taikonauts will conduct space walk in 2007 and the country will also launch target fliers and conduct rendezvous docking in orbit by 2009-12, said Tang Xiaming.


He disclosed that the main goal of China's manned space program is to build a permanent space station.


Mission completed for peaceful purposes


China reiterated Monday that the country's space program has been completely for peaceful purposes and it currently is focused on basic studies on space technology, said Tang.


Cost of the space mission


China spent a total of 900 million Yuan (US$110 million) on its second manned space mission, said Tang.


He added that all money spent on the mission is from the government purse.


No worrisome situation in the second mission


No worrisome situation occurred in China's second manned space mission, Tang said.


The Shenzhou VI spacecraft carried out a "perfect" mission, he said at a press conference of the State Council Information Office.


Interest in launching international commercial satellites


China is interested in international commercial satellite launching, said an official with China Aerospace Science and Technology Group Ltd. on Monday.


China has launched a foreign satellite this year and signed cooperative contracts on launching several foreign satellites, said Xu Dazhe.


The successful Shenzhou VI mission marks the 88th launch by China's Long March series rockets and the 46th consecutive successful blast-offs.


(Xinhua News Agency October 17, 2005)


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