Moon landing gets timetable

08:03, September 20, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

The timetable for China's first manned moon landing, as well as the launch of a space station, lab and probes to explore Mars and Venus, was announced by scientists over the weekend.

Chinese analysts, however, dismissed international concerns that Beijing is engaging in an outer-space arms race, stressing that recent activities and future missions are for scientific purposes and for the benefit of mankind.

In a visit to the country's space base in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, Saturday, Yang Liwei, China's first astronaut to voyage beyond the planet's atmosphere in 2003, revealed plans to launch the country's first unmanned space laboratory, Tiangong-1, next year, which is expected to accomplish the country's first unmanned docking with Shenzhou-8, a crucial step toward building a space station.

Both the manned spacecraft Shenzhou-9 and the unmanned Shenzhou-10 will be launched in 2012 to dock with the Tiangong space laboratory, and by around 2020 China will launch its first orbital space station, Yang said.

Meanwhile, at an aerospace engineering forum Thursday, Ye Peijian, Commander in Chief of the Chang'e Program and an academic at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said China's lunar-probe program, the country's first step toward deep-space exploration, is expected to orbit the moon, land and return to Earth by 2020.

Ye proposed that China launch its first manned moon landing in 2025, a probe to Mars by 2013 and to Venus by 2015.

"China has the full capacity to accomplish Mars exploration by 2013," Ye said.

Earlier this month, Wu Weiren, the chief engineer overseeing China's lunar exploration program, also revealed that work on the Chang'e-2 lunar orbiter had entered the pre-launch testing stage and it would make its first trial flight before the end of the year.

Chang'e-2 will carry out a soft-landing test in preparation for the launch of Chang'e-3, which is scheduled for 2013.

The Chang'e Project is named after a Chinese legend of a goddess who took a magic elixir and flew to the moon.

Space-program officials had said previously that the Chang'e-2 mission would be launched in October around the Mid Autumn Festival, dedicated to the Moon Goddess, Chang'e, but no precise date has been given.

Ouyang Ziyuan, chief scientist of China's lunar orbiter project, told the Global Times that China's plan to launch an orbital space station by around 2020 is achievable, based on aerospace technology development and the success of future manned missions.

China's space program will pose great challenges to scientists and technicians, Ouyang said, adding that the space station will be quite small in size compared with the International Space Station, a joint collaboration between 16 countries, including the US and Russia.

Huang Hai, a professor at the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (BUAA), told the Global Times that a space station was vital for future scientific research.

"A space station is a good platform for spacecraft and a research lab. It is the ultimate purpose of manned space technology," Huang said, adding that the cost would vary depending on the size of the station.

"China will build a smaller one, for perhaps 10 to 20 people, which is affordable for one single country," he said.

【1】 【2】


  • Do you have anything to say?


Special Coverage
  • Premier Wen Jiabao visits Hungary, Britain, Germany
  • From drought to floods
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • Chinese Navy soldiers hold an evening party marking the upcoming 62nd National Day aboard Chinese Navy hospital ship "Peace Ark" in the Pacific on Sept. 28, 2011. The Chinese National Day falls on Oct. 1. (Xinhua/Zha Chunming)
  • Photo taken on Sept. 30, 2011 shows the crowd at the plaza of Beijing Railway Station in Beijing, capital of China. The railway transportation witnessed a travel peak with the approach of the seven-day National Day holidays on Friday. (Xinhua)
  • Photo taken on Sept. 29, 2011 shows a cargo ship in danger on the sea near Zhuhai City, south China's Guangdong Province. Cargo ship Fangzhou 6 of Qingzhou of southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region lost control after water stormed into its cabin due to Typhoon Nesat on the sea near Zhuhai Thursday, leaving 12 crew members in danger. Rescuers rushed to the ship and saved them by using a helicopter. (Xinhua)
  • Actress Gong Li poses for L'Officiel Magazine. (Xinhua Photo)
  • Demonstrators from the Occupy Wall Street campaign hold placards as they march in the financial district of New York September 29, 2011. After hundreds of protesters were denied access to some areas outside the New York Stock Exchange on September 17, demonstrators set up a rag-tag camp three blocks away. Zuccotti Park is a campground festooned with placards and anti-Wall Street slogans. The group is adding complaints of excessive police force against protesters and police treatment of ethnic minorities and Muslims to its grievances list, which includes bank bailouts, foreclosures and high unemployment. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
  • The romantic myth of the Aegean 
The Aegean Sea is between the Greece Peninsula and Asia Minor Peninsula, dotted with many beautiful scenery islands, like a paradise on earth.  The ancient city of Troy in the east coast of Aegean, Turkey, and Mycenaean sites in the west bank of Greece, which have been archaeological discoveries, now are the must visit places in journey of the Aegean Sea. Above, these desolate dilapidated stone, the sunny blue sky and white clouds and vessels roaming at sea, arriving and departing travellers, add more romantic to the sea and the islands.
Hot Forum Discussion