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CHINESE MOON SHOT BY 2020
Dec 1, 2003 - According to a report by the Associated Press, the Chinese are planning to put humans on the Moon by 2020. If everything goes as planned, the Chinese will probably launch a probe to orbit the Moon in 2007, and land a spacecraft there in 2010. Since their first launch of a human in October 2003, China has been much more forthcoming about their spaceflight plans. Earlier this month China said that they will probably launch their next Shenzhou flight within two years, potentially carrying two humans into space.
JAPANESE ROCKET DESTROYED SHORTLY AFTER LAUNCH
Dec 1, 2003 - The Japanese space program suffered a setback on Saturday when a booster failed to detach from an H2-A rocket. Operators forced the rocket to self destruct, as it wouldn't be able to reach its intended orbit with the additional weight of the booster. The rocket was carrying two spy satellites which were intended to keep an eye on North Korea's rocket program. Prior to Saturday's failure, the H2-A rocket had launched five consecutive times safely, but insurance companies will probably require six safe launches before covering commercial launches.
EVIDENCE FOR PLANETS AROUND VEGA
Dec 1, 2003 - Astronomers from the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council believe they've discovered a planetary system around Vega, one of the brightest stars in the sky. Not only that, the star system seems remarkably similar to our own Solar System. So far, they've found evidence for a Neptune-sized planet in the same orbit as our own Neptune. This means there could be smaller, rocky planets closer in to the star.
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