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Shenzhou X to blast off with 3 in 2013

(Chinadaily.com.cn)

08:16, October 30, 2012

Yang Liwei, second left, deputy director of China Manned Space Engineering Office speaks at the opening ceremony of an exhibition of China's manned space program in Shanghai, Oct 27, 2012. [Photo/Xinhua]

China's Shenzhou X spaceship will launch next year carrying three crew members into orbit, the country's space program has announced.

Yang Liwei, deputy director of China Manned Space Engineering Office, made the announcement during a space engineering exhibition in Shanghai on Oct 27, but he did not announce a specific launch date, only adding the astronauts will be veterans and may include another woman.

Yang said Shenzhou X's task is to further improve the docking technology and the astronauts' working procedure in space and help solidify China's manned space technology, aiming at a breakthrough in the fields of space experiments, environment control, life support systems and time of flight.

China's manned space engineering is still in a stage of technological breakthrough and sending civilians into orbit for space tourism is not under consideration right now, Yang said, adding that it was just a matter of time.

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