China eyes moon flights for its new spaceship
China is developing an advanced new spaceship capable of flying in low-Earth orbit and landing on the moon, according to State media.
It is another bold step for a space programme that equalled the US in the number of rocket launches last year.
The Science and Technology Daily newspaper cited spaceship engineer Zhang Bainian as saying the new craft would be recoverable and have room for multiple astronauts.
While no other details were given in the Tuesday report, Mr Zhang raised as a comparison the Orion spacecraft being developed by Nasa and the European Space Agency. The agency hopes Orion will carry astronauts into space by 2023.
China came late to crewed space flight, launching its first man into space in 2003, but has advanced rapidly since then.
Now firmly established among the big three in space travel, the country last year moved ahead of Russia, which has 17 launches, for the first time in and equalled the US at 22.