BEIJING, March 4 (UPI) -- China Thursday announced plans for its second lunar probe in October ahead of its launch of an unmanned space module set for next year.
The Chang'e-2 lunar probe in October would be launched on a Long March 3-C carrier rocket, said Liang Xiaohong, party chief of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Liang's announcement came a day after Qi Faren, former chief designer of China's Shenzhou spaceships, announced plans for the launch of the Tiangong-I unmanned space module next year.
Tiangong-1 is designed for the country's first space docking and is seen as an essential step toward building a space station, Xinhua said.
A spokesman for the Chinese space program had said a year ago the unmanned module launch would be launched this year but the report blamed the delay until next year on technical reasons but gave no details.