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China. Launches Moon Program

Mr. SUN Laiyan, Deputy Administrator of  China National Space Administration disclosed on Feb. 13, 2004 that China has launched its moon probing program. Mr. SUN said that phase I project of the program, also named Chang'e I Moon Surrounding Project, has a total budget of RMB 1.4 billion. China's moon probing program will go through three different development phases, though all are unmanned probing activities. The objectives of phase I project are: launch a satellite circling around the moon before 2007, collect 3-D moon surface images, analyze the composition of usable elements on the moon surface and associated distributions, measure the moon soil depth and explore the space environment between the earth and the moon.

China will use its proven technologies to work on the Chang'e I Moon Surrounding Project.  The technologies to be applied include CZ — 3A carrier rocket and Dongfanghong satellite platform. Upon completing the phase I project, China will launch an unmanned probing unit to the moon before 2010. In the last part of the program, China will complete the moon soil sample collection before 2020.

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