China could put astronauts on moon in 15 years: expert
BEIJING (Reuters) - China's leading space vehicle expert predicts the nation will be able to send astronauts to the moon within 15 years, state media reported on Tuesday.
Huang Chunping, chief vehicle designer of the country's manned spaceflight program, said that goal was dependent on Beijing providing adequate funding and on holding successful project launches ahead of a moon launch, according to the Xinhua news agency.
"The goal to land an astronaut on the moon can surely be achieved in 15 years," Huang said while attending the annual full session of the country's top political advisory body.
A top Chinese space official said early last year that China's moon exploration program included a planned lunar fly-by in 2007, a soft landing in 2012 and the return of lunar samples by 2017.
Huang said that unexpected difficulties could affect the timetable, but he said he had "full confidence" on the development of the country's rocket industry, according to the report.
China's space program has moved ahead in the last several years. In 2003, China put a man in space, becoming only the third country to do so, after the United States and the Soviet Union, and launched a second manned space flight in 2005.
- Obama and Castro shake hands, Zuma humiliated at Mandela memorial |
- Google bus blocked in San Francisco gentrification protest
- Reporter allowed to keep sources secret in Colorado theater shooting
- Thai PM urges protesters to take part in election |
- U.S. regulators seek to curb Wall St. trades with Volcker rule
Protesters block several main streets in Kiev, responding to calls from opposition leaders to defend their demonstration from possible police intervention. Slideshow