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Yang Liwei confirms launch date of spaceship
Updated: 2005-09-18 16:50

China's second manned spacecraft Shenzhou VI is scheduled to be launched in mid-October, the nation's first astronaut Yang Liwei said.

Citizens of Nanjing look at the return capsule of Shenzhou V on a space exhibition Saturday. [newsphoto]

The launch date of the Shenzhou VI spacecraft, a focus of the country, was first disclosed as early October by an official in July and then revamped as mid-october by an official two weeks ago.  

The mission is supposed to last five to seven days with two astronauts on board, Yang revealed when meeting with military officers in Nanjing on Saturday. Yang came to the city to attend a space exhibition.

"I will not take this mission." Yang said, citing the reason to make way for young astronauts.

In the space, astronauts of Shenzhou VI will for the first time enter the craft's orbit capsule instead of being stuck within the return capsule as Yang did on his 21-hour space trip two years ago onboard the Shenzhou V craft.

According to Yang, the journey on Shenzhou VI would be more comfortable. Heated food, sleeping bags and essential sanitary equipment would become available on the spacecraft. Astronauts also afford the time for alternated sleep.

Starting from next year, China is to begin a major recruitment of astronauts, among whom are a portion of women.

Yang also said China's training for astronauts is the hardest among others in the world.

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