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China steps up manned spaceflight plans
Posted: Mon, Jul 4, 2005, 11:17 AM ET (1517 GMT)
Long March 2F launch of Shenzhou 5 (Xinhua) China has started training six astronauts for future manned missions, including two who will fly later this year, according to Chinese media reports. The six candidate astronauts are training in teams, with the best team to be selected to fly on the Shenzhou 6 mission this September. The six currently in training were selected from a pool of 14 that had been training together since last December. It wasn't clear from the reports if Yang Liwei, who flew on the Shenzhou 5 mission in October 2003, was among the six. Huang Chunping, former head of rocket systems for China's manned space program, discouraged the selection of Yang in order to give other trained astronauts to fly. Huang, who retired from the program last year, also said that China should increase its flight rate of manned missions to one a year, as well as press ahead with a small space station.
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