China To Develop New Generation of Rockets With View To Moon Landing
Beijing - Sept. 19, 2000
China will start research and development of a new generation of rockets, including a reusable launch vehicle (RLV), and set its sight on landing on the Moon, the Hong Kong-based Ta Kung Pao reports.
At a discussion forum hosted by the Hong Kong Journalist Association last Saturday (Sept. 16), the Chief Designer of Chinese rockets Long Lehao said that future launcher development would be in three main areas:
When asked about the timeline of China's first manned mission, Long replied philosophically: "Manned spaceflight is a procedural and gradual process. Russians conducted seven unmanned test flights before Gagarin went into space. Americans conducted even more [preparatory unmanned] flights.
"In scientific matter there is certain inner regularity, Chinese also have to obey this scientific regularity. We are actively preparing in this arena [of unmanned test flights]. ... I don't think it [the first manned mission] will be too far off, although it won't be too soon. Perhaps there won't be suddenly a [manned] flight this year."
The next unmanned test of the manned spacecraft, dubbed Shenzhou 2 mission, is rumoured to take place near the time of the National Day on October 1. Last November Shenzhou 1 successfully completely its maiden flight of 14 orbits and returned safely to land in Inner Mongolia.
Long stressed that only after comparing results of several unmanned test flights and obtaining reliable assessment would China launch its first manned mission.
Long also confirmed that China had sent its yuhangyuan ("astronauts") to train in Russia and had since returned home for on-going domestic training. However, he did not reveal who, when and how many yuhangyuan received training aboard.
Also presented at the forum was Lin Huabao, Chief Designer of Chinese satellites. Lin said that since the beginning of the space program in 1970, China had developed more than 45 satellites for science exploration, meteorological observations, broadcasting and resource surveying.
"In the next few years China will put an emphasis on developing large capacity communications satellites that will match international technological levels," said Lin.
Long added that for the Chinese space program to reach world level, it is not only a simple comparison with other spacefaring nations at the technological level; but in fact a comparison of the integrated national economy and power.
"Since China has many domestic programs to administer, funding for the space program is very limited. Under the circumstances China will not compare its space program in all areas with others. Instead the country will make more investment in key areas."
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Ziyuan-2 Launch Team Honoured; Mission Details Remain Guarded
Hong Kong - Sept. 14, 2000
The team that successfully launched the Long March-4B rocket and its payload Ziyuan-2 satellite were honoured when they returned to Shanghai from the Taiyuan Satellite Launching Center (TSLC) in the northern Shanxi Province.
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