Photo taken on April 1, 2007 shows a
MR-2 "lunar vehicle" displayed at the Shanghai Aerospace Administration in
Shanghai, east China. The "lunar vehicle" robot, which can move at a speed
of 100 meters per hour, will start its exploration with China 's first
moon landing probe as the second part of China's three- phase moon
exploration program. (Xinhua Photo/Chen Fei)
May 20 (Xinhua) -- China was "losing no time" in preparing its first lunar
orbiter, Chang'e I, which will most likely be launched in the second half of
2007, a space official said here on Sunday.
"The moon probe project is the third milestone in
China's space technology after satellite and manned spacecraft projects, and a
first step for us in exploring deep space," said Sun Laiyan, chief of the China
National Space Administration.
Sun, also vice director of the Commission of Science
Technology and Industry for National Defence, made the remarks when briefing
students at Beijing Jiaotong university on China's space program.
China's moon exploration program is divided into
three phases -- "circling the moon", "landing on the moon" and "back to earth",
The launch of the orbiter is the first phase of
China's moon exploration program, and the second phase will involve the
launching of a moon rover, he said.
Earlier reports said the moon rover will be launched
In the third phase, another rover will land on the
moon and return to earth with lunar soil and stone samples, Sun said.
"Space technology reflects a nation's overall power
and is an important facet of the modernization of national defense," he said.
Sun said China is able to research, produce and shoot
ground-to-ground, air defense and coastal defense missiles, and its strategic
nuclear deterrent is a key component of China's national defense.
"As late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping pointed out, if
China had no atomic bombs or hydrogen bombs and had not launched its first
satellite since the 1960s, China could not be called an influential country and
would not enjoy the same international status," he said.
Modern war relies heavily on information and
high-tech, supported by space technologies, Sun said, citing the war in
Afghanistan and Iraq where most intelligence gathering, military communications,
navigation, positioning and weather reporting activities carried out for
American troops have been conducted via satellites.
BEIJING, March 17 (Xinhua) -- China may launch its first
lunar satellite in September this year, the official People's Daily said in its
overseas edition Saturday, quoting head of the country's Commission of Science
Technology and Industry for National Defense. Full story
BEIJING, March 6 (Xinhua) -- China has finished assembling
its first lunar satellite probe after three years of research and development,
Luan Enjie, chief commander of the country's lunar exploration program, told
Xinhua Tuesday. Full story
BEIJING, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- China will promote manned
space flight, lunar exploration and a number of other science and technology
initiatives in 2007, said Minister of Science and Technology, Xu Guanhua, here
on Monday. Full story