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China unveils 2002 space plans

China plans to send a manned craft into space by 2005
China plans to send a manned craft into space by 2005  

SHANGHAI, China -- China hopes to launch about 10 satellites, rockets and spacecraft in 2002 as part of its space development program.

Among the new missions is the launching of a weather satellite in the first half of the year, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday.

The report said that the Shanghai Aerospace Administration would use the Long March 4 rocket to send the Fengyun 1-D into space.

The satellite would be used in medium to long-term weather forecasting and also to monitor conditions for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Xinhua reported.

China, which first launched a satellite in 1970, has already launched several satellites for U.S. and Brazilian operators and is vying for a greater share of market.

To date, it has launched almost 50 satellites with a 90 percent success rate.

The launch of 30 more are planned in the next five years as part of China's space program.

China has also indicated its ambitions to send a man to the moon and hopes to send a manned craft into space by 2005.

The mission is part of Beijing's plans to create a space industry and earn the prestige of joining the United States and Russia as the only nations to have sent humans into space.

In 1999 and January 2001 it successfully launched the "Shenzou" unmanned spacecraft.

A monkey, a dog, a rabbit and snails were sent into orbit aboard the second Shenzou launch but scientists say that more unmanned tests will be necessary.

An official China Daily media report published in November said that China has been looking towards aerospace technology as a way of making advances in other fields including agriculture, medicine, meteorological studies and telecommunications.




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