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China announces plans for future human spaceflight
Posted: Fri, Nov 23, 2001, 8:15 PM ET (0115 GMT)
Shenzhou illustration by Simon Zajc Chinese officials said this week that they will launch a human into space by 2005 and hinted at future missions to the Moon. Officials with the Chinese National Space Administration, quoted in the Chinese media, said that the first Chinese astronaut, or taikonaut, would be launched "before 2005." According to outside experts, the third unmanned launch of Shenzhou, a prototype of China's manned spacecraft, may take place as soon as December. Chinese officials also said they were exploring plans for lunar missions, but were vague whether those plans involved robotic and/or human missions. China launches several spacecraft a year, but has yet to send one beyond Earth orbit.
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