Two Chinese astronauts may be orbiting Earth as early as September, this time spending five days aloft in the nation’s second manned venture into outerspace, China’s space agency chief confirmed Thursday. Sun Laiyan, who heads the China National Space Administration, also said the country expects to expand exchanges with the United States in space science and applications to further tap co-operative potential.
Chinese Duet to orbit Earth this autumn China Daily
The Shenzhou-5 manned spacecraft, wholly designed and developed by China, is expected to blast into the space sometime this week, launching China as the third nation to send man into space after the former Soviet Union and the United States. Gu Yidong, director-general and chief designer of the space application system under China’s manned spaceflight program, told Xinhua that the manned space program’s ultimate goal for China was to explore outer space and make a good use of the rich resources of space.
China aims to send probe to Mars by 2020 China Daily
China, not content with the closest views of Mars man has glimpsed since the Stone Age, is hoping to launch a space probe to the red planet by 2020, state newspapers said on Friday. The probe would orbit Mars and conduct tests on the planet’s makeup and atmosphere, the Beijing Youth Daily quoted Liu Zhenxing, a fellow at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Space Science and Applied Research Institute, as saying. China is planning to send an astronaut into space for the first time later this year and become the third country to accomplish that feat, after the former Soviet Union and the United States.
Reality check for China’s manned space ambitions China Daily
Chinese New Year celebrations here have nearly been overshadowed by saturation news coverage of the space shuttle Columbia disaster, reflecting China’s growing obsession – and new found worries – with space exploration as they count down to the country’s first manned space mission. China is on the threshold of becoming the third country to send its own astronauts into orbit later this year, officials declared after the Shenzhou IV spacecraft successfully returned to earth on Jan 5.