Russian Launch Issues Delaying China’s First Mars Probe SpaceDaily

The launch of China’s first Mars probe “Yinghuo-1”, originally scheduled for October 2009 on a Russian carrier rocket, has been postponed until 2011 due to Russia’s “technical reasons”, a Chinese space exploration official said here Wednesday. Ye Peijian, chief designer of Chang’e-1, the country’s first moon probe, told Xinhua about the delay on the sidelines of the ongoing annual session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, China’s top political advisory body.
“Actually, China is now completely capable of exploring Mars independently,” said Ye, also a member of the CPPCC National Committee. “With the improvement of our technologies, there is no problem for China to launch its Mars probe with its own observation and control system.”
Ye said the most suitable time to launch the Mars probe would be in the years 2011, 2013 and 2016 when the distances between Mars and the Earth are the shortest.