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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Chinese Policy: Land Humans on the Moon

China has declared its intention to land "taikonauts" on the moon, in the first official confirmation of its aim to go where Americans last set foot nearly 40 years ago.

While Chinese scientists have previously discussed the possibility of a manned lunar mission, a government white paper published in the China Daily on Thursday is the first public government document to enshrine it as a policy goal.

China will “conduct studies on the preliminary plan for a human lunar landing”, the white paper said, as reported by Simon Rabinovitch in Beijing for The Financial Times, (dramatization video of first Chinese moon landing in 2020).

Spokesman Zhang Wei noted China has signed 66 international space cooperation agreements with 22 states and regions, and 44 of them currently remain in effect, noted the Xinhua media outlet in China, pointing to Chinese international space technology cooperation for peaceful purposes.  The New York Times suggests that the Chinese white paper on the new five-year space plan presents a challenge to the American space community and United States strategic competitiveness.

While the Obama Administration has signaled a willingness to work with China, the Congress has blocked any effort to link the US-Chinese space efforts. The Chinese are slated to mount two human orbital missions in 2012 to their now orbiting space lab with intent to construction their own international space station by 2020 and conducting robotic lunar missions by mid-decade.

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