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Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Jul 15, 2005 1:39:36 GMT -6
China Plans To Launch Next Manned Space Mission In Early October
Beijing (AFP) July 15, 2005
China plans to launch its next manned space mission in early October with two astronauts circling the earth for five to six days, state media reported Friday. "The manned spacecraft Shenzhou VI will ... preferably be launched in early October," Sun Weigang, director of the Space Department of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, told the China Daily.
The flight would be China's second manned space mission after Shenzhou V's successful launch in late 2003, carrying the nation's first man in space, Yang Liwei, for 21 hours.
Sun said two astronauts, chosen from 14 air force fighter pilots, will blast off in October. China will also launch two recoverable scientific and experimental satellites by the end of the year.
China's space program is still shrouded in secrecy with little known about the flights until days before a launch. But authorities have shown signs of more transparency since the success of its first manned space flight.