A leading official in charge of China's manned space program said after the success of its first human spaceflight the country would launch its lunar and deep space probe programs and space lab and space station projects.
Zhang Qingwei, deputy chief commander of China's Manned Space Program, said China would strive for breakthroughs in space rendezvous and docking technology for launching a space lab and eventually a manned space station.
A manned space station will enable China to carry out large-scale scientific experiments and applications in space, said Zhang, citing the plan for manned space program approved by the Chinese authorities in 1992.
Zhang, also general manager of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp (CAST), said the space plans are necessary for China to exploit space resources for peaceful purposes.
Space-based infrastructure, including the planned space lab and station, will serve as a platform for deep space probe, he said.
The CAST, manufacturer of China's spacecraft and launch vehicles, will plan for the development of space lab and its launch vehicle and technology for space rendezvous and docking.
Long Lehao, director of the Science and Technology Commission of China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology with CAST, told Xinhua the academy has started developing a more powerful launch vehicle capable of sending large satellites, lunar probe devices and other space probe facilities into space in the coming 30 years and more.
China Academy of Space Technology, China's leading satellite and spacecraft developer, announced earlier this year it had designed a lunar probe program and made breakthroughs in key technology.
(Xinhua News Agency October 16, 2003)