Chen Maozhang, member of Chinese Academy of Engineering, on Sunday deeply regretted the tragic incident of US space shuttle Columbia, saying such incident would not shake the mankind's space exploration program.
Chen, who also serves as professor of Beihang University (the original University of Aeronautic and Astronautic Science and Technology in China), told Xinhua that the mankind's space exploration is a great cause that would suffer various setbacks.
"But the mankind will not give up the dream of space exploration. Facing the setbacks, the mankind need to find out thecause of the accident and make improvement," he added.
US space shuttle Columbia broke apart into flames as it streaked over Texas toward its landing strip at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday, killing all seven astronauts.
Six Americans and the first Israeli astronaut were on board. Four of the seven astronauts were on their first shuttle flight.
(Xinhua News Agency February 2, 2003)