China to launch space station in 15 years
China will strive to build its own space station over the next 15 years, according to chief designer of China's manned space program Wang Yongzhi.
Wang made the remark when delivering a report to some 100 high school students from Beijing, Hong Kong and Macao on Sunday, according to Monday's Beijing News.
Wang said that China has invested 18 billion yuan (US$2.18 billion) in its manned space program over the past 11 years, far lesser than orginally expected.
Under this program, China is to construct a permanent manned space station, which will take about 15 years to complete, the paper said.
China followed in the footsteps of the Soviet Union and the United States to achieve manned space flight last October, when astronaut Yang Liwei orbited the earth 14 times.
"China will also conduct a lunar orbiting program," Wang was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, Wang said that due to financial reasons, China's lunar probe is not to send an astronaut to the moon, but to launch a satellite which orbits the moon.
Wang, a 72-year-old academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE),
has been chief designer of China's manned space program since 1992.