Chinese engineers are now busy preparing for Shenzhou VII, China's third
manned space foray, planned for next year. Officials say the mission's
astronauts will perform another first walking in space.
Of more immediate significance is China's plan to fast-track its
lunar-exploration program by launching a moon orbiter this year. This is to be
followed by a second-phase project involving unmanned lunar landers.
Further missions set for 2012-17 will involve collecting and returning lunar
samples to Earth.
China's goal to land astronauts on the moon can surely be achieved in 15
years, Huang Chunping, former commander-of-chief of the launch-vehicle system of
the country's manned space mission, told the media last week.
(China Daily 03/16/2007 page5)