First spaceship one of 10 main projects
Ten major space test projects have been scheduled for this year, a leading aerospace official revealed yesterday.
They included research at the Shanghai aerospace base on rocket and satellite development, Lu Xiaochun, party chief of the city's Aerospace Bureau, told Liberation Daily.
Military analysts said it was probable the launch of China's first spaceship was one of the tasks.
Official media have reported that the Shanghai bureau has been given the job of building parts of the spaceship, including the capsule, in time for a launch around October 1 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic.
Mr Lu said Beijing had decided the China Aerospace Industry General Corporation would be divided to set up a 'competition mechanism'.
The reform is in line with reports that each of the five military corporations under the Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence would have a new subsidiary.
Last week, Mr Lu returned from leading the Shanghai Rocket-Satellite Experiment Group for two months on the May 10 launch of two satellites at Taiyuan, Shanxi province.
He told of the anger among his colleagues at the embassy bombing. 'The successful launch of our rocket is a forceful answer to Nato's crime,' he said. 'The bloody lesson teaches us that a strong defence, not just a prosperous economy, is what makes a nation powerful.'