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China plans to send three people into space
( 2003-10-28 17:05) (Agencies)

Basking in glory after its first manned space launch, China has set its sights on putting three people into space for a week, the China News Service said on Tuesday, citing a space official.

The space official who worked on the October 15-16 voyage that made China only the third country to rocket a person into space, said preparations were under way for the next in the Shenzhou, or "Divine Ship," series, the semi-official news agency said.

The Shenzhou VI was expected to blast off within the next two years, it reported.

China's second manned space flight will take place within two years but the launch could be moved up, the Chengdu Evening News cited Xu Dazhe, vice general manager of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, as saying.

Compared with Shenzhou V, which lifted China's first man into orbit earlier this month, Shenzhou VI will have more interior space to accommodate three astronauts rather than one, Xu said.

The Shenzhou V, carrying astronaut Yang Liwei, circled Earth 14 times during a 21-hour trip more than 40 years after the Soviet Union and the United States became the first and second countries to put a man into space.

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