|Shenzhou set for June 2013 launch|
There has been discussion of China joining the International Space Station project, but this is considered unlikely given political tensions between Beijing and Washington, notes the BBC. The Russians and Europeans have voiced encouragement for Chinese participation in the $100-billion International Space Station project.
|Bay of Rainbows Chang'e-3 site|
In its last white paper on space, China said it was working towards landing a man on the moon, but did not specify a time-frame but it is expected to be around 2022. So far only the United States has achieved that feat, most recently in 1972.
China sees its space program as a symbol of its rising global stature, growing technical expertise, and the Communist Party’s success in turning around the fortunes of the once poverty-stricken nation, notes The Guardian Express newspaper.