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China plans third manned spaceflight in October

RIA Novosti

12/06/2008 15:10 BEIJING, June 12 (RIA Novosti) - China plans to launch its third manned space flight in October, the Xinhua news agency said on Thursday.

The Shenzhou-VII spacecraft will be manned by a crew of three Chinese astronauts or 'taikonauts,' two of which who will carry out China's first spacewalk.

Six people have been chosen for the mission - three main crew members and three back up crew.

China's manned space program started in 1999 with the Shenzhou V spacecraft successfully launching China's first astronaut, Yang Liwei, into orbit in 2003. This was followed by a five-day manned mission in 2005.

The Shenzhou VII spacecraft is due to be launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in China's northwest province of Gansu. Pre-launch preparations have started at the site.

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