Second manned space mission ready in Sept.
China's second manned space mission would take place in September 2005, the Beijing News quoted a high-ranking space official as saying Thursday.
Huang Chunping, chief commander of China¡¯s first manned space flight, announced the time frame Wednesday, the Beijing News said.
¡°Shenzhou VI is scheduled to be launched in September next year,¡± Huang was quoted as saying.
Officials had previously said the launch would be next autumn but had not revealed the month.
Training for the space mission was going ¡°very well¡± and according to schedule.
¡°Everything is going according to plan. The training is very successful and is first-rate,¡± China¡¯s first astronaut Yang Liwei, who manned Shenzhou V in China¡¯s maiden manned mission in October 2003, told CCTV on Wednesday.
¡°The astronauts will be able to complete their training on time and meet the requirements to greet Shenzhou VI¡¯s launching next year.¡±
Shenzhou VI will orbit Earth for five days with two astronauts on board, previous reports have said.
CCTV on Wednesday gave a rare glimpse of would-be astronauts in the next manned space mission, showing trainees in simulated zero gravity doing somersaults and holding up the national flag.
CCTV showed astronauts in training being spun blindfolded in a mock space capsule and doing somersaults in simulated weightlessness. A pair of toy stuffed panda bears floated past the camera while a trainee in a space helmet waved a Chinese flag.
The report did not say where or when the session took place.
Fourteen astronauts are in training for the flight. All are military pilots.