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China's Orbiting Spacecraft in Good Shape

China's third unmanned spacecraft, "Shenzhou III," which was launched on Monday, is in sound condition and flying normally on its pre-set orbit, space scientists from the Beijing Aerospace Directing and Controlling Center said Wednesday.

And outer-space scientific and technological experiments are being carried out according to plan, said Sui Qisheng, director of the center.

Experiments in space science have been successfully carried out on the spacecraft, which had orbited the Earth at least 30 times by Wednesday evening.

Sui noted that feedback data states the craft's flying condition is very good.

The center has sent a chain of tele-commands to steer and operate the orbital module to make it complete several activities, such as adjusting the craft's direction in outer space, added Sui.

Dozens of space scientists work in the center, paying close attention to the craft's responses via three-dimensional images and data displayed on a huge computer screen at the center.

The internal environment of the spacecraft is the same as that of a manned spacecraft, and a simulated voice responding to the center can be heard clearly, said Gu Sheng, a telecommunication expert of the center.

The spacecraft, which can carry out the functions of a manned craft, was boosted by the "Long March II F" carrier rocket into a pre-set orbit from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gansu Province.

Space experts said "Shenzhou III" was "technically suitable for astronauts."

The spaceship is circling the Earth once every 90 minutes. It is expected to fly in space for another couple of days before landing.

(China Daily March 28, 2002)

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