JIUQUAN, Gansu Province, Oct. 12 (Xinhuanet) -- International manned space
exploration will develop in five major directions, namely, establishment of
international space stations, space-basedflights, a moon base, a manned landing
on Mars and space tourism, Zhang Qingwei, deputy chief commander of China's
manned spaceflight program, has said.
In November 1998, 16 countries, including the United States, Russia, Japan
and some European countries, launched a program to establish an international
space station, which is so far progressing smoothly, said Zhang.
The international space station will weigh 420 tons, hold six or seven
astronauts and have a life span of 10 to 15 years, said Zhang.
He said the station will undertake various scientific research,including
life sciences, space sciences, Earth sciences, engineering technological tests
and development of commercial products.
Humans would develop large space stations into space bases and assemble
large satellites in space, said Zhang, and satellites would be sent into
geosynchronous orbit by aerospace vehicles, which would cost less than being
launched from the Earth.
The moon would become the first venue for human beings
outside the Earth due to low gravity, vacuum, asepsis, small magnetic field and
raw materials resources similar to the Earth, said Zhang.
He predicted that humans would set up on the moon in 20 years, decades
after the Americans first set foot there.
The United States and Russia have reached an agreement to jointly probe
Mars and have worked out a plan to send people to the planet. They plan to land
manned craft on Mars in about 30 years, he said.
Enterprises from countries like Russia, the United States and Japan have
proposed space vehicles for repeated use be developed at lower cost. "In the 20
years to come, humans will travel in outer space and space tourism will
ultimately become an industry,"said Zhang.
He said major countries have funded their space undertakings with large
sums of money, and international cooperation on development of space has moved
"With the development of manned spaceflight technology, mankind will
constantly enhance its capability to utilize space resources and leap forward in
exploration of outer space," said Zhang. Enditem