China has said it will land an exploratory craft on the moon for the first time next year, as part of an ambitious space programme that includes a long-term plan to put a man on the moon.
China will deploy bigger spacecraft for longer missions following the success of its Shenzhou-9 voyage, allowing it to build a manned space station and potentially put a man on the moon, experts said.
China, which sent three astronauts into orbit a week ago, said they would conduct the nation's first manual space docking on Sunday -- a key step to building a space station.
China on Saturday launched its most ambitious space mission to date, sending its first female astronaut into orbit and bidding to achieve the country's first manual space docking.
China will launch a spacecraft this month to conduct its first manned space docking, state media said Saturday, the latest step in a plan aimed at giving the country a permanent space station by 2020.
Two Russians and an American joined three colleagues aboard the International Space Station Thursday for a mission that should include receiving the orbiter's first visit from a private spacecraft.
SpaceX on Saturday aims to become the first private company to send its own cargo ship to the International Space Station, a feat that only a handful of world governments have pulled off.
China may send its first woman into space this year after including female astronauts in the team training for its first manned space docking, state media said Monday.
China's next space mission will carry three astronauts who will dock with and live inside an experimental orbiting module launched last year, state media said Friday.
Russia said Thursday that its delayed next manned mission to the International Space Station (ISS) would blast off May 15, 45 days later than its scheduled date, after a problem was found in testing.