China Tools Up For Space Race

From AFP:

Forty years after the United States landed a man on the moon, China’s fledgling space programme is racing to get to the lunar surface before an American return and ahead of its Asian rivals.

The United States – the only country to have sent men to the moon – is hoping to touch down on the lunar surface again by 2020, almost a generation after it first completed six historic manned lunar trips between 1969 and 1972.

Meanwhile, after putting its first man into space in 2003 – the third nation to do so – China is aiming to launch an unmanned rover on the moon’s surface by 2012 and a manned mission to the moon by around 2020.

‘China is doing all the things one would need to do in order to go to the moon,’ Mr Dean Cheng, an expert on China’s space programme at the US-based research firm CNA Corp, told AFP.

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