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2007 moon rocket production kicks off
By Wu Chong (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-01-06 06:05

Manufacturing of the carrier rocket and satellite for China's first lunar expedition has kicked off, according to the State Commission of Space, Technology and Industry for National Defence.

Related facilities including the launch and ground application systems have begun testing, said spokesman Jin Zhuanglong at a press briefing.

China is scheduled to send its first satellite to the moon in April 2007 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in Southwest China's Sichuan Province, in a one-year lunar mission dubbed Chang'e Project.

Apart from the moon exploration project, China also plans to launch four satellites by the end of this year. These include "Xinnuo 2," a large-capacity satellite for communications. Two others are for scientific research and one for weather forecasting.

Jin also outlined a long list of China's priority projects in several industries related to national defence, emphasizing the development of products for civilian use.

"We will give priority to research into new regional jets this year," he said. "And we will start developing large airplanes in the next five years."

Last September, the country announced the trial production of ARJ-21, or Advanced Regional Jet, hoping to reduce reliance on Boeing and Airbus in the domestic aviation market.

The 100 per cent domestically designed short-haul passenger plane is expected to take its maiden trial flight late this year, Xinhua reported.

(China Daily 01/06/2006 page2)

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