China aims to build space station in 15 years

Hu Shixiang, deputy commander in chief of China's manned space flight program, said China wants to master the technology for a space walk and docking in space by 2012. "I think about 10 to 15 years later, we will have the ability to build our own space station and to carry out a manned moon landing," Hu said in Hong Kong on Sunday. Hu is visiting Hong Kong following China's second successful manned space mission, together with the mission's two astronauts, Nie Haisheng and Fei Junlong. The two astronauts orbited Earth for five days last month aboard the Shenzhou 6 capsule, traveling 3.2 million kilometers (2 million miles). China's first manned mission was in 2003, when astronaut Yang Liwei orbited for 21 1/2 hours. He stressed that China intends to explore space for peaceful purposes, saying Beijing "is willing to work hard with people around the world for the peaceful use of space." Chinese space officials want to study the possibility of making rockets with 25 tons capacity - three times the capacity of exiting rockets - but the government hasn't approved the funding, he said.
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