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China to launch manned spacecraft in Oct.
By Zhao Huanxin (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-07-15 06:02

The duo will be chosen from among 14 air force fighter pilots.

The trainees have stepped up training in weightless conditions and learnt to repair faults and deal with other emergencies in space, sources close to the country's space programme said.

Sun Weigang said China would also launch two recoverable scientific and experimental satellites by the end of the year. The two satellites will be recovered within three weeks of their launching, he said.

Sun's remarks were made on the sidelines of a ceremony yesterday in Beijing marking the handover of a meteorological satellite from its maker - China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp - to its user, the China Meteorological Administration.

The meteorological satellite, FY-2C, named after the initial letters of the Chinese words for "wind" and "cloud", cost 2.4 billion yuan (US$289 million) to develop and build. A Long March rocket blasted it into space last October.

In-orbit tests indicated the geo-stationary satellite, with an expected lifetime of three years, had met all the designed requirements.

Yang Jun, director of the National Satellite Meteorological Centre, said FY-2C, which watches the Earth from a height of 36,000 kilometres, will substantially improve the country's ability to monitor weather changes and its attempts to mitigate natural disasters.

Qin Dahe, director of the China Meteorological Administration, said every country covered by the FY-2C satellite could receive and use its meteorological data.
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