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Japan considering human spaceflight options
Posted: Sun, Feb 1, 2004, 9:30 AM ET (1430 GMT)
H-2A launch on flight 4 (NASDA) The Japanese government is considering a new space policy that could include plans to launch manned spacecraft, Japanese newspapers report. The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported late last week that the new policy, expected to be completed by this summer, may feature sending Japanese astronauts into orbit on Japanese-built spacecraft and launch vehicles. Such a program could cost as much as 1 trillion yen (US$9.5 billion) and take six to ten years to implement. The move is seen as a way to improve the situation at the Japanese space agency JAXA,which has suffered a number of setbacks including the November 2003 failure of a H-2A rocket. It would also serve to boost the prestige of the nation in response to China's successful flight of the manned Shenzhou 5 spacecraft last October.
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