China Planning Autumn 2005 Space Mission
By Associated Press
posted: 10:00 am ET
12 May 2004
BEIJING (AP) -- China plans to launch a pair of astronauts into orbit in autumn 2005 in its second manned space mission, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Wednesday.
The flight will last five to seven days, Xinhua said, citing Qi Faren, the space program's chief designer.
It was the first time the Chinese government disclosed the size of the planned crew of the Shenzhou 6 capsule. Earlier reports said the launch would be some time in 2005.
The flight would come two years after China made history as the third nation to launch a human into space on its own, firing lone astronaut Yang Liwei into orbit. In October of last year, Yang circled the Earth 14 times and landed by parachute in China's
The Xinhua report didn't give any other details of the timing of the next flight or identities of its crew. Earlier reports said 14 astronauts - all military pilots - were in training.
Qi said the crew of the Shenzhou 6 will move into the orbital module of the segmented craft to conduct experiments, Xinhua said. By contrast, Yang stayed in his seat throughout his flight.
Qi made the remarks at a symposium in southeastern China, Xinhua said.
After the Shenzhou 6 flight, plans call for another launch before 2010 that will include China's first space walk, the report said.
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