December 30, 2011
China Lays Out Space Exploration Plans For Next Five Years
China has unveiled its plans for the country's space program for the next five years, including detailed plans about space labs and manned ships.
According to the statement, China will launch space laboratories, manned spaceship and ship freighters by the end of 2016.
The document also said that it will be making technological preparations for the construction of space stations as well.
China's space program has already made major strides in exploration, but still lags behind both the U.S. and Russia.
The county will continue to explore the moon using probes, and will start gathering samples of the moon's surface. It said it will "push forward its exploration of planets, asteroids and the sun."
China said it will use spacecraft to study properties of black holes and begin monitoring space debris and small near-Earth celestial bodies.
The paper claims China will improve its launch vehicles, improve its communications, broadcasting and meteorological satellites and develop a global satellite navigation system.
China became the third country to launch a man into space in 2003. It also was able to complete a spacewalk in 2008.
Its space program launched its first lunar probe in 2007, which orbited the moon and collected data to create a lunar map.
The country's space program has made great strides in recent years, and since 2006 it has successfully launched the Long March rockets 67 times, sending 79 spacecraft into orbit.
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