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China issues a white paper on space, outlining its future goals

China today issued a white paper on space, outlining its future goals. In addition to additional launches of its manned Shenzhou manned capsule,

China also plans to launch space laboratories, manned spaceship and space freighters, and will start a research on the preliminary plan for a human landing on the moon, the document said.

As an important part of deep-space exploration, the country’s lunar probe projects follow the idea of “three steps” — orbiting, landing and returning. In next five years, the country plans to launch orbiters for lunar soft landing, roving and surveying to implement the second stage of lunar exploration, then it will start the third-stage project of sampling the moon’s surface matters and get those samples back to Earth, the white paper said.

You can download the full white paper here [pdf]. Hat tip to Spaceref.com.