China to start manned lunar program
Updated: 2005-12-15 11:33
China will begin an effort to send astronauts to the moon in about 2017, with
a landing some time after that, Xinhua News Agency said Wednesday, citing a
senior official of the lunar probe program.
The moon landing would cap a lunar program begun in 2004 with the launch
of a probe. In October, China launched its second manned space flight, a
successful five-day mission.
The Xinhua News Agency quoted Ouyang Ziyuan, the lunar program's chief
scientist, as saying unmanned lunar probes will be ramped up in three stages
until about 2017, when the manned program will begin.
The report did not indicate when a manned lunar landing might be
According to Ouyang and other Chinese space officials, an effort to launch
lunar orbiting satellites will be supplanted in 2007 by a program aimed at
accomplishing an unmanned lunar landing.
A program to return unmanned space vehicles from the moon
will begin in 2012 and last for five years, until the manned program gets
underway, Xinhua quoted the officials as saying.