A senior Chinese space program official said here Monday they have spent 900 million yuan (about 110 million US dollars) on its second manned space mission and have great interest in commercial satellite launch for global clients.
All the money is from the government, said Tang Xianming, director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office, at a press conference of the State Council Information Office, about six hours after the return of the re-entry capsule of the Shenzhou-6 spacecraft.
The craft carrying taikonauts Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng ended up its 155.5-hour space voyage and returned to the Earth at 4:32 Monday morning.
Tang told the press that China has launched a foreign satellite this year and signed cooperative contracts on launching several other foreign satellites.
The successful Shenzhou-6 mission marks the 88th launch and the 46th consecutive successful blast-off of China's Long March series rockets.
Tang recalled the whole process of the successful piloted space flight, calling it a milestone for China's space program and a proof that the country is completely capable of carrying out its own space program independently.
No worrisome problem had occurred during Shenzhou-6's space flight, he said.
At the briefing, Chinese and foreign reporters bombed Tang and the only other spokesman Xu Dazhe, deputy general manger of the China Aerospace Science an Technology Group, with questions on the space tour of Shenzhou-6 and China's future plans for its space program.
According to Tang, Chinese taikonauts will conduct space walk in 2007 and the country will also launch target fliers and conduct rendezvous docking in orbit by 2009-12, while a Moon-circling satellite is being developed.
He disclosed that the main goal of China's manned space program is to build a permanent space station.
All the 14 Chinese taikonauts in service have been trained in microgravity environment in Russia, as part of China's efforts in international cooperation and exchanges in space technology, Tang said.
He said that China has sent US and French satellites into space with Chinese rockets from Chinese launch pads over the past years, winning understanding and support of the international space circle. "We will continue international exchanges and cooperation in this field," Tang said.
He reiterated that China's endeavor to develop manned space program is completely for peaceful purposes and is currently focused on basic studies on space technology.
"We are willing to make our due contribution to the exploration and peaceful utilization of space resources," he said.