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China plans Shenzhou 4 launch by end of year
Posted: Mon, Nov 4, 2002, 2:27 PM ET (1927 GMT)
Shenzhou illustration by Simon Zajc China plans to launch Shenzhou 4, the fourth and perhaps final unmanned test flight of its manned spacecraft, by the end of the year, according to Chinese media reports. According to the reports, first published in the Beijing Youth Daily and the Xinhua news agency, Chinese officials said that the Shenzhou 4 launch would take place before the end of the year. The reports quoted Hu Hongfu, deputy general manager of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, as saying that there would be "no difference" between the Shenzhou 4 spacecraft and a future mission that would carry humans into orbit. Previous reports had speculated that the launch would take place by January 2003. The Chinese reports have no indication of when a manned launch would be attempted if Shenzhou 4 carries out a successful mission this year, although past reports had suggested that such a mission would be attempted between 2003 and 2005.
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