Home>News Center>China

Reuters: Astronauts blast off into space
Updated: 2005-10-12 08:25

China's second manned spacecraft blasted off from a remote northwestern launch site on Wednesday, just two years after the country joined an elite club of space powers.

Astronauts Fei Junlong, 40, and Nie Haisheng, 41, were handpicked from 14 fighter pilots and had been in the running for China's first manned space launch in 2003. Their mission is due to last five days.

"There is nothing to worry about," state television quoted the two as saying before the launch as a light snow fell. "We will accomplish the mission resolutely. See you in Beijing."

"I feel good," Fei said minutes after blast-off.

The launch came just a day after the Communist Party wrapped up a key meeting to map out the development of the world's seventh-largest economy for the next five years.

It also came as China opens its 10th National Games, dubbed its mini-Olympic Games, ahead of the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Premier Wen Jiabao and other leaders were at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, deep in the desert of western Gansu province, to witness the launch.

"You will once again show that the Chinese people have the will, confidence and capability to mount scientific peaks ceaselessly," the official Xinhua news agency quoted Premier Wen as telling the astronauts.

In the Chinese capital, President Hu Jintao and Vice President Zeng Qinghong watched the lift-off at the Beijing Aerospace Command and Control Center.

China is determined to become a serious space player and set up a National Astronaut Training Center in Beijing this week. Xinhua said it was only the third such facility in the world.

"We should never slacken our efforts to explore the mystery of space," Nie, the astronaut, told Xinhua.

State television has been filled with images of spacecraft and astronauts for the past few days.

China's first man in space was Colonel Yang Liwei, who orbited Earth 14 times aboard Shenzhou V craft in October 2003.

The former Soviet Union and the United States put their first men into space in 1961.

Shenzhou VI blasts off into sky
Celebrating Chongyang Festival
Astronauts for Shenzhou VI to be selected
  Today's Top News     Top China News

Second manned spacecraft successfully takes off



Next goals: Permanent space lab, and moon



AP: Chinese crew starts space mission



Reuters: Astronauts blast off into space



CPC sets blueprint for next five years



Chinese rescuers in Pakistan offer hope


  Many ministries misused funds, report says
  China approves new five-year economic plan
  Premier: We'll do our best to help
  National standards for disposable chopsticks issued
  Snow urges China for more action on yuan
  Nuke power firm plans project in Hainan
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools  
  News Talk  
  It is time to prepare for Beijing - 2008