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'Shenzhou IV' Strictly Identical with Manned Spacecraft: General Director
Two days before launching of the "Shenzhou (divine vessel) IV" spacecraft, reporter from Beijing Youth Daily interviewed Yuan Jiajun, general director of the space program, at the Jiuquan Satellite Launching Center of Gansu Province.

The "Shenzhou IV" launched this time is designed identical with the manned spacecraft in terms of technological condition, said Yuan. That is, it can meet the demand of astronauts if they are on board. Based on the matured technology of the three previous ones, the "Shenzhou IV" is additionally equipped with manual control, emergency landing and other systems to further test its performance, reliability and safety and acquire as well data related with board environment and astronaut safety.

The instrument panel of "Shenzhou IV" sees added with sound and time reminder upon key events and important operations. Different from the previous three, it can not return to the main landing ground in central Inner Mongolia due to meteorological or other reasons, the "Shenzhou IV" will still be able to land in Jiuquan. In emergency case the world map on board would help choose the landing zones with preset time and programs.

Besides, all the windows of the latest craft are made of a new light-penetrating material to guarantee that, after returning to the atmosphere, the astronauts will be able to see clearly the landing terrain so as to decide whether to shake off the main parachute or not.

Although the craft is still unmanned, Yuan demanded that all designs and experiments are conducted with an awareness of "being manned," and Chinese astronauts had entered the spacecraft to receive a week-long training for the first time.

Astronauts expressed their satisfaction over the board environment and systems after a series of practical tests for both men and craft, and with tough training in basic theories, professional skills and flight procedures and tasks, they are now absolutely capable of making their maiden voyage to outer space.

With the launch of real manned craft approaching, the "Shenzhou IV" has been installed with the life support sub-system containing sleeping bag, food, medicine, fire extinguisher, hygiene articles and other necessities.

(People's Daily December 31, 2002)

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