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Shenzhou 4 "operating normally"
Posted: Wed, Jan 1, 2003, 1:48 PM ET (1848 GMT)
Shenzhou illustration by Simon Zajc Three days after the launch of Shenzhou 4, Chinese officials said Wednesday that the spacecraft is working well. An article published Wednesday by People's Daily said that scientific experiments on the spacecraft were "proceeding smoothly" and that the spacecraft had carried out instructions sent from ground controllers to perform maneuvers while in orbit. The report gave no indication when the spacecraft would return to Earth, although the previous two Shenzhou test flights lasted one week each. Shenzhou 4 is the fourth unmanned test flight of a spacecraft designed to carry yuhangyuans, or astronauts. Speculation that this may be the final test flight before a manned flight is attempted was supported by statements published Tuesday in People's Daily, where Yuan Jiajun, general director of the program, said that Shenzhou 4 was identical to the version that would carry people.
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