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China catches up quickly in space program
2005-10-14 17:43:05 Xinhua English

OTTAWA, Oct. 14 (Xinhuanet) -- China is catching up very quickly in space program and made impressive achievements in human space flight during the past 5 decades, said Canadian Space Agency President Marc Garneau in an interview with Xinhua on Friday.

Talking about China's successful launch of the Shenzhou VI manned spacecraft this week, the president said China has made "very, very rapid progress in human space flight".

Although China started late in space work, it has been compressing the schedule and catching up very quickly, the president said via phone from his office in CSA headquarters in Longueuil, Quebec.

"My assessment is within 10 or 15 years, China will be second space nation in terms of accomplishment. I believe," he said.

The president, who will visit China next week, expressed keen interest in cooperating with China, not only in space science, but also in earth observation, pollution, climate change and other areas of science.

China has a very large space program while Canada has its own specialties. China could take advantage of Canada's space robotics technology if it builds a space station, suggested the president who, as the first Canadian astronaut to fly in space with the shuttle, had logged over 677 hours in space with 3 space flights.

The president will leave for China on Monday with representatives from Canadian Space Agency and also from Canadian Space Industry. They will meet with officials from China National Space Administration and also from the Chinese Academy of Sciences to discuss possible areas of cooperation.

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