An anonymous reader writes "Xinhua and Reuters are reporting that China will have the technical capability to put astronauts on the moon within 15 years. According to Huang Chunping, chief launch vehicle designer, a Chinese lunar landing will be achievable in that time frame if funding is available and preliminary projects go well. Huang says that China's current generation of Long March rockets are 'slightly' better than Europe's Ariane rockets, but trail the United States and Russia. China achieved its first human space flight in 2003. The United States had its first human space flight in 1961, and put the first astronauts on the moon about 8 years later, in 1969. The US is planning to return to the moon by 2020, 13 years from now."