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China launches second manned spacecraft
Posted: Wed, Oct 12, 2005, 12:53 PM ET (1653 GMT)
Long March 2F launch of Shenzhou 6 (Xinhua) China launched two astronauts into space early Wednesday on Shenzhou 6, its second manned spaceflight. A Long March 2F booster, improved to incorporate safety enhancements, lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China at 9:00 pm EDT Tuesday (0100 GMT, 9:00 am Beijing time Wednesday) and placed the Shenzhou 6 spacecraft into low Earth orbit. On board the spacecraft are two astronauts, Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng; their identities were not officially confirmed until a few hours before launch, although they had been widely reported to be the leading candidates to fly the mission. Shenzhou 6 is scheduled to remain in orbit for nearly five days, with Fei and Nie performing a number of experiments during the flight. The launch comes almost exactly two years after Shenzhou 5, China's first manned spaceflight: that mission flew one person into orbit for just under one day. Another manned mission, Shenzhou 7, is planned for 2007.
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