Wednesday, 17 September 2003


As reported in a previous post, the Chinese Manned Space programme is proceeding apace, with a launch scheduled for some time after early October.

From AFP, via Space Daily :
China is making final preparations for its first manned space flight and the launch of the Shenzou V craft could come anytime in the next three months, a senior space official said Tuesday.

But Sun Laiyan, Vice Administrator of the China National Space Administration (CNSA), declined to reveal the exact launch date or confirm reports it would occur in mid-October.


China has so far launched four unmanned spaceflights, the last of which, Shenzhou IV, successfully returned to earth on January 5 after a 162-hour mission and was seen as the final dress rehearsal before a manned spaceflight.


Meanwhile, space officials said China hoped to launch a space probe capable of orbiting the moon by 2005 or 2006, which would be the nation's first lunar mission and would eventually lead to an eventual landing on the moon by an unmanned Chinese lunar space craft.

"As far as the launch date, it is not very convenient to say too much. We are just saying that the launch will come in the latter half of the year," Sun told AFP.

"Right now, we are actively making all preparations, following our four successful unmanned space flights. We are feeling very confident."

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