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China's first man in space visits Russia
Updated: 2005-08-23 09:18

China's first man in space met with Russian space officials on Friday, discussed cooperation between the two countries and said he would enjoy flying aboard a new spacecraft Russia is designing.

China's first man in space, Col. Yang Liwei, during his meeting with Russian space officials in Moscow. [AP]
In his first foreign visit since he orbited the Earth in China's first manned space flight in October 2003, Col. Yang Liwei met with top space officials and was presented with an award named after Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space.

The Chinese manned space program's technology is based on Russia's Soyuz space capsule, though with extensive modifications, and Russian space agency chief Anatoly Perminov said the giant neighbors plan to step up space-related cooperation.

"We are convinced that our joint, mutual cooperation with China in the sphere of space will be constantly developing and increasing," Perminov said at the meeting, which came as Russia and China boosted relations with their first-ever joint military exercises.

During his weeklong visit, which was to end on Monday, Yang visited Russia's Mission Control center, astronaut training facilities and Moscow's International Air Show exhibit, said the space agency's spokesman Vyacheslav Davidenko.

At the show he was shown a mock-up of the Kliper, or Clipper, shuttle, a reusable spacecraft that is being designed to replace the Soviet-designed single-use Soyuz.

Asked by Perminov whether Yang would like to fly aboard Kliper, Yang said he would enjoy the flight.

"As a professional astronaut I would like to have an opportunity to fly aboard advanced spacecraft," Yang said through a translator.

A Chinese state newspaper reported last month that China hopes to launch its second manned space mission in October, two years after the first flight.

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