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China To Launch First Astronauts After National Day

in a "command economy" with a billion people to gainfully employ the net cost of this is virtually zero
by Hou Yi for Dragon Space
Hong Kong - Sep 16, 2003
China is set to send its yuhangyuan ("astronaut") into space in October with the liftoff to occur by the middle of the month, Wen Wei Po in Hong Kong reports today (Sept. 15).

Unidentified sources told the newspaper that the countdown to launch the historic manned Shenzhou-5 mission (SZ-5, Shenzhou means "Divine Vessel" or "Magic Vessel") would enter the one month mark as of today.

Chinese space officials have decided that the launch would happen after the week long celebration of the National Day on Oct. 1. However, no specific launch date will be chosen until after the holiday.

Unconfirmed information from the Xi'an Satellite Control Centre (XSCC) in Shaanxi Province said that the single-person mission might see its launch on Oct. 10.

Both SZ-5 and its Changzheng-2F (Long March-2F) launcher arrived at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre (JSLC) in the northwestern Gansu Province in late August. The two vehicles underwent integration and further testing in a vertical fashion at the massive Vertical Assembly and Testing Building (VATB).

JSLC personnel reported that the launch preparation have been going smoothly. Weather conditions at JSLC are good with the feel of autumn already present. By nighttime temperatures are increasingly cools.

Chinese space officials have not revealed any information on the number of yuhangyuan who will ride on the mission, the duration of the flight, and whether any science experiment would be conducted on board.

According to an unnamed technician at the Chinese Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT), the manufacturer of the CZ-2F rocket, the selection of the historic crew will come in two stages.

When the launch is near, space officials will choose three candidates for the mission. The candidate with the best condition on the day of the launch would receive the honour to become an instant hero in China.

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Will China Go Solo On First Mission
Sydney - Sep 03, 2003
In the final weeks before China's first human space mission, we are still not sure of who will pilot it. The Shenzhou spacecraft has enough room on board for three crewmembers, but it's unlikely that it will be fully crewed for its first operational mission.

Shenzhou-5 Liftoff Preparation Begins At Launch Centre
Beijing - Aug 28, 2003
The historic manned mission Shenzhou-5 (SZ-5) is another step closer to blastoff with the arrival of its launch vehicle at the launch site, Wen Wei Po in Hong Kong reports today (Aug. 25).

Shenzhou-5 Single-Person Mission Could Be Launched On October 10
Hong Kong - Aug 15, 2003
A yuhangyuan ("astronaut") could make history and become an instant hero in China with the launch of Shenzhou-5 (SZ-5) that may take place on October 10, an aerospace forum posted the unconfirmed information on Tuesday (Aug. 12).

China Begins Hundred-Day March To Shenzhou-5 Flight
Beijing - Jul 22, 2003
The much-anticipated historic launch of Shenzhou-5 (SZ-5), the first manned mission in the Chinese space program, may only be a hundred days away, Wen Wei Po in Hong Kong reported yesterday (July 21). Unnamed sources told the newspaper that the launch could come in about a hundred days "in the timeframe of autumn before [the onset of] winter." The sources told Wen Wei Po that space officials had determined which yuhangyuan ("astronaut") would pilot the mission. However, they did not disclose the identity of the first crew or the number that would ride on SZ-5.

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