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Shenzhou VI in Orbit

China's second manned spacecraft, Shenzhou VI, successfully entered its planned orbit this morning from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gansu Province.


Over the next few days, the two astronauts on board, Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng, will transfer from the return module into the orbital module of the 9.2-meter-long spacecraft, where they will conduct laboratory tests.


This will be the first time that Chinese astronauts have undertaken such maneuvers.


Before they headed for the launch site, Premier Wen Jiabao had a brief meeting with the astronauts and wished them success in their mission.


China's first manned spacecraft, Shenzhou V, carried astronaut Yang Liwei into orbit two years ago.


Fei and Nie were both selected from the ranks of air force pilots, as Yang had been before them.


Fei, 40, is from Kunshan, in east China's Jiangsu Province. He was one of five candidates who received intensive training for the first manned space flight.


Nie, 41, is from Zaoyang, in central China's Hubei Province. He was selected for the shortlist of three for Shenzhou V. The other two were Yang and Zhai Zhigang.


(CRIENGLISH.com October 12, 2005)

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