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Next space mission planned for October 13, report says
Updated: 2005-09-26 13:52

China's second manned space mission - and its first to carry two astronauts - is due to launch on October 13, weather permitting, and return five days later, a media report said. AP reported.

Technicians make final examinations and tests of China's second manned spaceship Shenzhou VI at Jiuquan satellite launch center in Gansu Province. It is set to be launched on October 13 at the earliest. 

The launch of Shenzhou VI is scheduled for 11 a.m. at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Base, in the Gobi desert in northern China, with the mission lasting 119 hours if all goes according to plan, the China News Service reported on Sunday.

It said midday was chosen as the launch time to improve safety and allow launch personnel enough time for final preparations, unlike some past unmanned missions that pushed off in the night and predawn hours.

"The main reason is to provide greater safety for the astronauts because these spaceships are manned spaceships," the report said.

China has announced plans to land an unmanned probe on the moon by 2010 as well as operate a space station.

China's first manned space flight in October 2003 made it the third country able to launch a human into space on its own, after Russia and the United States.

Col. Yang Liwei, a former fighter pilot, orbited the Earth for 21 1/2 hours aboard the Shenzhou V capsule before landing in China's northern grasslands.

The report said the landing site for Shenzhou VI will again be the grasslands in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. 
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