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China faces realities of manned spaceflight
Updated: 2006-03-08 06:43

"Our country can't invest all its money in space exploration, despite its importance. It has to be viewed in a rational way," he said. "China is now, for example, paying particular attention to solving rural issues."

He said that it cost just 19 billion yuan (U.S. $2.37 billion) to put a man into space, but pointed out that nearly 300 billion yuan would be spent this year on rural problems.

Huang said he, who dragged himself up out of poverty from a village in the southeastern province of Fujian, understood why not as much money as he would like could be spent on space.

"The cities in China are like Europe, but the countryside is like Africa," he said.

Huang said he was well aware how far China had to go to catch up. The former Soviet Union and the United States put their first men into space in 1961.

"Our technology has no problems, nor do our designs. But economically we can't do it. That's why we're so behind space powers like Russia and the United States," he said.

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