(IANS) China has now set its sight on planet Venus, where it hopes to land a space probe by 2015. A probe to Mars and the country's first moon landing has also been chalked out.
The first unmanned space laboratory, Tiangong-1, will be launched in 2011, after which there would be the first unmanned docking with the Shenzhou-8 spacecraft, Yang Liwei, China's first astronaut to visit space in 2003, was quoted as saying by the People's Daily.
Manned spacecraft Shenzhou-9 and unmanned Shenzhou-10 will be launched in 2012, and by 2020, China will launch its first orbital space station, he said.
Ye Peijian, commander-in-chief of the lunar-probe programme, said an orbit of the moon can be expected by 2020. China may launch its first manned moon landing in 2025, a probe to Mars by 2013 and to Venus by 2015.
Earlier, Wu Weiren, chief engineer of the lunar exploration programme, said work on the lunar orbiter had entered the pre-launch testing stage and it would make its first trial flight before the end of the year.
The lunar programme is named "Chang'e'" after a Chinese goddess who took a magic elixir and flew to the moon.
Analysts, however, dismissed international concerns that China is engaging in a space arms race, stressing that the missions are for scientific purposes and for the benefit of mankind.