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China opens new chapter in space history
Updated: 2005-10-13 07:18

China launched its second manned space mission, sending two astronauts into orbit as it opened a new chapter in its ambitious drive to become a global space power.

Shenzhou VI lifted off on a Long March 2F carrier rocket from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center at 9 am (0100 GMT) for a five-day mission carrying air force pilots Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng.

China opens new chapter in space history
China's second manned spacecraft Shenzhou VI blasts off into the sky Wednesday morning October 12, 2005. The craft, carrying astronauts Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng, is expected to orbit the Earth for five days. [Xinhua]

It entered a fixed orbit 21 minutes later.

The first day's flight is satisfying, the Xinhua News Agency quoted space experts as saying.

The spacecraft enjoyed normal electricity supply and maintained its basic functions after entering the orbit, said the experts.

The astronauts smoothly completed their actions as planned, such as taking on and off the space suits, opening the capsule doors, eating, drinking and sleeping, Xinhua said

The capability of the spacecraft to shift orbit also stood the test.

The two astronauts will Thursday be engaged in an anti-disturbance experiment in which Fei and Nie will open and close the capsule doors, take on and off their space suits and operate various equipments.

They would purposely use more strength to move, so as to test the disturbance of people's movement on the spacecraft.

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