First a man, now moon for space programme
( 2003-11-03 08:01) (China Daily)
China will launch its first moon-probe within the next
three to five years, Chinese space programme officials revealed on Saturday in
an interview with the Xinhua News Agency.
The Shenzhou V
space capsule exhibits in Hong Kong November 1,
Zhang Qinwei, deputy head of a delegation from China's manned space
programme's headquarters and general manager of China Aerospace Science and
Technology Corp, said comprehensive feasibility studies for the first-phase of
the moon-probe programme have been completed and an engineering operations plan
has already been drafted.
Zhang said that after successful satellite launches and the recent manned
orbital mission, China is prepared for the challenge of a moon probe expedition
and other outer space activities.
Zhang said he believes the moon probe will become the third milestone for
space technology development in China. A Long March III-A rocket will be
employed for the satellite that will probe the moon.
China's moon programme will be divided into three phases. The first will
focus on obtaining three-dimensional graphs of the moon's surface, studying the
elements of the surface and probing the immediate environment of the moon, he
said. The second phase of the programme will send a probing devices to the
moon's surface, and the final phase will survey the moon's surface and bring
back rock samples.
In a related development, China has been engaged in development of an
intelligent robot for use in a moon-probe mission for years.