TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: China Plans to Put Man on Moon by 2020

China Plans to Put Man on Moon by 2020

Min Lee (
Sun, 27 Nov 2005 15:35:48 -0600

By MIN LEE, Associated Press Writer

Fresh from its second manned space mission, China's space program
wants to be able to put a man on the moon and build a space station in
15 years, an official said Sunday.

"I think in about 10 to 15 years, we will have the ability to build
our own space station and to carry out a manned moon landing," said Hu
Shixiang, deputy commander of China's manned space flight program.

But the goal is subject to getting enough funds from the government,
Hu said, explaining that the space program must fit in the larger
scheme of the country's overall development.

Hu was in Hong Kong with the two astronauts who conducted China's
second successful manned space mission in October. He spoke during a
televised question-and-answer session with executives from various
television stations and newspapers.

Nie Haisheng and Fei Junlong circled Earth for five days aboard the
Shenzhou 6 capsule, traveling 2 million miles in 115 hours, 32
minutes. China's first manned mission was in 2003, when astronaut Yang
Liwei orbited for 21 1/2 hours.

China wants to master the technology for a space walk and docking in
space by 2012, Hu said. He said China was developing its space program
at its own pace, not in competition with the United States. "It's not
the competition of the Cold War era," he said.

Hu stressed China's intention to use space exploration for peaceful
ends, saying the government "is willing to work hard with people
around the world for the peaceful use of space."

He said Chinese space officials want to study the possibility of
making rockets with the capacity to carry spacecraft weighing 27.5
tons -- three times the capacity of their existing rockets -- but the
government hasn't approved the funding.

Hu dismissed suggestions the space program is too costly for a country
that, despite rapid economic growth, is still struggling to eradicate
rural poverty.

He noted the recent space mission cost $111.4 million, compared to the
$23.5 billion that China spent on combating pollution last year.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.

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