by Staff Writers
Beijing (Sputnik) Mar 07, 2016
China plans to land a rover on Mars when the opportunity presents itself in 2020, the country's chief aerospace engineer said Friday.
Ye Peijian, the chief designer of the country's state lunar exploration mission, said that Mars makes a close approach to Earth every 28 months, presenting a short window of opportunity for a probe launch.
"We will not make it by 2018 but we can try to launch a probe in 2020," Ye Peijian was quoted by the Sina news website as saying.
The scientist said earlier that China had all the technology it needed for a successful launch.
China has been eyeing the Red Planet after it put a rover on the Moon in 2013. Its ambitious space program also includes a permanent space station and manned flights to the Moon and Mars.
Beijing will conduct over 20 space missions this year, including a launch of a manned spacecraft, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation said Friday.
"This year will see more than 20 space launches, the most missions in a single year," China's major space contractor said, as quoted by the China daily newspaper.
According to the space agency, China will launch the Tiangong 2 space laboratory by late June to probe life support technologies for Beijing's future space station, as well as the Shenzhou XI manned spacecraft.
China is also expected to launch two satellites for domestic navigation systems and one communications satellite for Belarus.
Source: Sputnik News
China National Space Administration
The Chinese Space Program - News, Policy and Technology
China News from SinoDaily.com
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