China: October 16, 2003

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China's first man in space landed after spending 21 hours in orbit. China spent hundreds of millions of dollars to repeat a stunt first performed by Russians and Americans over 40 years ago. The Chinese did it for pride and bragging rights, and it worked. Despite China's robust satellite launching business, it's a "man in a can" that really gets people's attention (inside and outside China.) How many more of these stunts will occur is hard to say. While the ministry of propaganda should be paying for this, it's the military who funds it. The generals and admirals want more money to modernize their forces, but the temptation to go for glory in space is hard to resist.  The government said the next Shenzhou (manned) mission wound be in one or two years.

 

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