Monday, September 29, 2008

China Greets Astronauts with Parade & Eyes the Moon

We will find out soon enough if America rreally went to the moon.

A small crowd of schoolchildren waved flags as three Chinese astronauts rode into Beijing on Monday after completing the nation's first spacewalk, seen as key to longer-term plans for a space station and a lunar landing.

The three landed safely back on earth on Sunday after a 68-hour voyage and space walk that showcased the country's technological mastery and were hailed as a major victory by its leaders.

State television showed the astronauts waving to a small crowd from the back of convertible automobiles as military officials looked on.

China's space programme is now moving to the next phase of development to master the technology needed to dock two spacecraft, and putting a space station in orbit, said Wang Zhaoyao, deputy director of manned space flight.

Beijing plans a scaled-down space lab by 2011, and aims to send both unmanned and manned spacecraft to dock with the space lab.

After docking successfully in space, China wants to launch a manned space station by 2020, said Wang, according to Xinhua. ADVERTISEMENT

China has ambitions to land a man on the moon, but has not announced any concrete plans or timeframe for such a mission.

The South China Morning Post said pride in the nation's technological prowess "has rightly been boosted" by the spacewalk by the crew of the Shenzhou VII.

"The mission -- like the staging of the Olympic Games last month -- showed the heights that China is capable of scaling," said the newspaper.

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