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Chinese Manned Space Mission Launched Successfully

12 October 2005 -- China today launched its second manned space flight, sending two astronauts into earth orbit on an expected five-day mission.

The astronauts -- Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng, two former Chinese fighter pilots -- blasted off aboard a Shenzhou 6 capsule from a remote launch site in China's northwestern desert.

The liftoff was broadcast live on Chinese state-run television.

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao has praised the launch as a "success" and congratulated all the personnel involved.

Two years ago, China successfully carried out its first manned space mission, joining the former Soviet Union and the United States as the only countries to send humans into orbit.


Copyright (c) 2005. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org

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