BEIJING, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- China currently has no
plan to send a man onto the moon, said Sun Laiyan, chief of the China National
Space Administration, on Monday.
"I've read reports by foreign media saying that China
would carry a manned moon landing in 2020, but I don't think there has been such
a plan," Sun told a press conference in Beijing.
"So far, our moon mission only includes unmanned
probing projects. The success of the Chang'e-1 project has helped us train a
professional team and will support the mission's next aim of landing a rover on
the moon," Sun said.
The launch of the orbiter kicks off the first step of
China's three-stage moon mission, which will lead to a moon landing and launch
of a moon rover at around 2012. In the third phase, another rover will land on
the moon and return to earth with lunar soil and stone samples for scientific
research at around 2017.
"But I believe one day China will for sure send its
own astronauts to land on the moon. I hope I can see it happen," Sun said.
It's not the first time that the Chinese government
denied an existing manned moon landing plan.
In October, Luan Enjie, chief commander of China's
lunar orbiter project, also told reporters that China has no plan or timetable
for a manned moon landing for now.
"A manned moon landing is a project with great
difficulties, high risks and huge investments. A wish-list approach is not the
way to go about it," Luan said.
"Many factors have to be taken into account to carry
out such a project, such as economic budgets, technological level, and whether
it is a must for current scientific studies," Luan said.
"So, it's too early to talk about manned landings on
the moon for the time being," he added.