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Shenzhou-VII taikonauts in final training for liftoff
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Six taikonauts (astronauts) selected for China's Shenzhou-7 space mission are in final training for the launch sometime from Sept. 25 to 30, says a senior mission official.

The candidates for the three-man mission rehearse basic procedures every day and study manuals to maintain their skills, Huang Weifen, deputy chief designer of the mission's flight system, said on Tuesday.

The six taikonauts arrived at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on Sunday, where they were accommodated in a guarded quarantine facility to protect them from health risks.

Staff who entered the compound had to wear masks and sterile uniforms and undergo health checks, and were prohibited from shaking hands with the taikonauts, she said.

Doctors at the compound were closely monitoring the physical and psychological states of the taikonauts before the final crew was announced, she said.

Three taikonauts will fly on the Shenzhou-7 aircraft. One of them will perform a spacewalk.

(Xinhua News Agency September 23, 2008)

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