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|Monday, November 06, 2000, updated at 14:04(GMT+8)|
China's Astronaut Expected to Enter Outer Space Early Next CenturyHu Hongfu, deputy executive general manager of China Aerospace Science and Technology Group Company, indicated at the news briefing on the International Aviation show, which was held in Guangdong Province's Zhuhai on November 5, that China is working hard to send its astronauts into the outer space early next century after conducting several more unmanned spaceship tests by China's Manned Astro-engineering.
Hu said that since China's manned space-flight project was implemented in 1992, it has surmounted a great deal of major technological difficulties and mastered many new technologies and techniques. On November 20 last year, the experimental spacecraft "Shenzhou" was launched for the first time and successfully returned on November 21 which marked a significant breakthrough in China's manned airspace technology. The main purpose of the launch is to prove the correctness of the overall design of the rocket and spaceship and the reliability of their technological performance. It is a technological experiment. New contents will be constantly added to future experiments.
In answering the question about when Chinese astronauts will be sent to the outer space, Hu said that manned space flight is a systematic project involving great difficulties in technology and in coordinating actions, and covers a broad field. Manned space flight must ensure the perfect safety of the astronauts and an extremely high requirement must be set to its reliability. The former USSR conducted five unmanned spaceship tests before it sent Yuri A. Gagarin to the outer space. The United States did the same only after carrying out eight tests. Therefore, China must also perform a number of unmanned spaceship tests before it can finally achieve a historical breakthrough in manned astro-technology.
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