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China to launch Shenzhou-6 between Oct.12-15


BEIJING, Oct. 11 (Xinhuanet, by Xinhua writers Tian Sulei, Zhao Jialin and Xu Zhuangzhi) -- China will launch its second manned spacecraft, Shenzhou-6, from a launch center in northwest China at a proper time between October 12 and 15, said an officialof the China manned space program Tuesday.

The spacecraft, with two astronauts aboard, will be launched into space from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gansu Province, according to the official.

And the spacecraft will be sent into an oval orbit with a bankangle of 42.4 degrees, a perigee altitude of 200 kilometers and anapogee altitude of 347 kilometers, the official said, adding that after the orbit adjustment, the spacecraft will move into a round orbit.

After the scheduled space mission, the spacecraft will return to the main landing field in the central part of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, the official said.

The astronauts for the scheduled space mission have been decided, after strict training, selection and assessment, and they have completed comprehensive ground drills, the official said.

However, the official didn't mention the names of the astronauts and the time of the spacecraft's return.

"Preparations for the launch are doing well," he said.

The Long March rocket propelled China's first manned spacecraft,Shenzhou-5 carrying astronaut Yang Liwei, into orbit two years ago. Yang thus became the first Chinese to travel in space.

Wang Yongzhi, chief designer of China's manned spaceflight program, said the two astronauts on Shenzhou-6 will for the first time enter into the orbital module from the re-entry capsule and live and work several days under microgravity conditions.

They will also for the first time carry out "scientific experiments with human participation in its real sense" in space, said Wang without deliberation.

Liu Yu, commander in chief of the rocket system, said the rocket for Shenzhou-6 has much improvement in reliability and safety compared with the one for Shenzhou-5.

"We have confidence in the quality of this rocket. We have the conditions and capability to fulfill this mission," said Liu.

Yang Liwei, who entered into space in Shenzhou-5 two years ago,told Xinhua at the launch center that after training in the past two years, the astronauts on Shenzhou-6 are capable of fulfilling their tasks.

He said that as the spacecraft has been improved, the astronauts now enjoy "a better and more comfortable" working environment.

--- Source: Xinhuanet

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