Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

China plans unmanned moon landing

China is planning its first unmanned moon shot

China aims to launch its first unmanned lunar lander by the end of this year, complete with a radio-controlled rover to transmit images and dig into the surface to test samples.

The Chang'e 3 lander has officially moved from the design to the launch stage, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense said.

It and another lander will remain on the moon's surface, although China plans to follow those with landers that will return to Earth with samples.

A crewed lunar mission could also be launched if officials decide to combine the human spaceflight and lunar exploration programs.

China has recently focused on its manned flight programme, sending two missions to temporarily crew the Tiangong 1 experimental space station. Launched in 2011, the station is due to be replaced by a three-module permanent station, Tiangong 2, in seven years.

China sent its first astronaut into space in 2003, becoming the third nation after Russia and the United States to achieve manned space travel independently. The military-backed space programme is a source of enormous national pride and has powered ahead in a series of well-funded, methodically timed steps.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz