China is planning to send a man to the moon by 2005, as part of its space program. The mission is part of Beijing?s plans to join the United States and Russia as the only nations to have sent humans into space. This is occurring at the same time that both Russia and NASA are cutting costs and reducing the number of humans in space.
China?s first satellite was launched in 1970. In 1999 and January 2001 it successfully launched the ?Shenzou? unmanned spacecraft. A monkey, a dog, a rabbit and snails were sent into orbit aboard the second Shenzou launch, and scientists say that more unmanned tests will be necessary. ?We must be sure that the astronauts are 100 percent safe in outer space after launching,? says Liang Sili of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.