Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Thursday, October 16, 2003

China to launch Shenzhou-VI in one or two years

China will launch Shenzhou-VI spacecraft in one or two years but the country has no plan to develop space shuttle, said Xie Mingbao, director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office, Thursday.


China will launch Shenzhou-VI spacecraft in one or two years but the country has no plan to develop space shuttle, said Xie Mingbao, director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office.

Asked when China will launch its next Shenzhou series spaceship at a press conference Thursday morning in Beijing, Xie noted that China had launched four Shenzhou spacecrafts in the past four years, or once every year on average.

"So I think that on the basis of well summing up the experience of the successful launch of the Shenzhou-V manned spacecraft, the country will send its next Shenzhou craft in one or two years," he added.

Turning to the decision by China Central Television not to broadcast live the launch of Shenzhou V, Xie said that for China's space program administrators safety of the astronaut and the spacecraft was more important.

He said: "we don't think that the TV live broadcast has any direct bearing on the success of our spaceflight."

"What we really care is to do a good job in launch organization, achieve more technological breakthroughs and do a better job in quality control of the spacecraft, which is key to ensuring a complete success of the mission," said Xie.

Meanwhile, he added, China's space workers have always "had full confidence in success".

The Chinese government has in all allocated 18 billion yuan (US$2.2 billion) to its manned space program by the time of successful return of the Shenzhou-5 space vehicle Thursday morning, according to Xie.

The fund was mainly used for scientific research, manufacturing of equipment and instruments, the construction of essential facilities for research and tests, and consequently a system complete with all necessary departments of research, production and test related to manned spaceflight was established.

China is willing to cooperate with other countries in space exploration on the basis of equality, said Xie.

He noted that China is willing to learn from the United States and Russia in developing space technology, and cooperate with any other country that treats China as its equal partner for mutual benefit, he said.

China has been developing its high-tech space technology, which have benefited the country's various basic industries, according to Xie.

Yang Liwei, China's first astronaut who spent 21 hours in space orbiting the globe 14 times, will meet the public soon, according to Xie.

Calling Yang a "space hero" and a "national hero" of China, Xie, at a Beijing press conference Thursday morning, said that Yang has surprised everyone with his excellent performance in space.

However, he didn't specify when and how Yang will meet the public.

The Shenzhou-V has carried crop seeds from Taiwan into space, said Xie. "We did this because it is good for farmers on both sides of the Taiwan Straits".

Xie said so far there was still no plan for space cooperation across the Taiwan Straits, but added, "We are willing to actively promote anything that will benefit Taiwan compatriots."

By People's Daily Online

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