Shenzhou VI to be launched soon: official

China might launch its second manned space mission later this month or next month, a space official said Tuesday in Shanghai.

"The launch of Shenzhou VI spacecraft could be in September or October, " said Zhang Qingwei, president of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, the Shanghai Morning Post reported.

Space authorities were carrying out various tests on the craft, and the final launch time will be adjusted according to the test results, according to Zhang.

But he estimated that the craft is most likely to blast off recently.

The potential astronauts for the mission will enter the Shenzhou VI craft in the real tests which will also involve the adaptability of the spacemen and ground command process, according to Zhang.

Several pairs of astranauts have been selected, but the final pair will decided on based on their performance in real tests, said Zhang.

A flag for the 2010 World Expo to be held in Shanghai will be carried into the sky, according to Zhang, adding that Shanghai citizens will probably have the chance to see the articles that will go with Shenzhou VI soon.

China became the third nation to successfully send a man into space in October 2003, when astronaut Yang Liwei orbited the Earth 14 times on the Shenzhou V spacecraft.

Source: chinadaily

People's Daily Online ---