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China revamps manned spaceflight plans
Posted: Tue, Feb 14, 2006, 8:17 AM ET (1317 GMT)
Long March 2F launch of Shenzhou 6 (Xinhua) China has changed its future plans for its manned space program to feature the development of a small space station by early next decade, Flight International reported Monday. After the launch of Shenzhou 7, China's third manned mission, in 2007, China had planned to launch two manned missions, Shenzhou 8 and 9, in close succession in 2009; the two spacecraft would dock together in orbit. Now, according to a senior Chinese official, China will launch three spacecraft, Shenzhou 8, 9, and 10, within a month in 2010. Shenzhous 8 and 9 will be unmanned spacecraft that will dock together; Shenzhou 10 will be a manned mission that will dock to the Shenzhou 8-9 complex, creating a small orbiting laboratory. China plans to follow that with a small "man-tended" space station by 2012, which will be visited by manned Shenzhou missions.
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