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China Launches its Second Manned Space Shuttle

Posted October. 13, 2005 07:06,   


China successfully launched its second manned space shuttle.

Shenzhou VI took off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center located in the Gobi Desert in Kansu Province at 9:00 a.m. (local time) on October 12. It successfully entered into the 200 km orbit of Earth 10 minutes later.

China’s second successful manned space mission following the first one in 2003 set the stage for an intense competition in space exploration among countries in the international community, including the U.S. and Russia.

Fei Junlong (40) and Nie Haisheng (41), astronauts and colonels of the China’s People`s Liberation Army, became national heroes after Yang Liwei, China’s first man in space. They sent their first message, “We feel great,” to the ground control center 34 minutes after the blast-off. Shenzhou VI is orbiting the Earth at a speed of 7.9 km/s or orbiting the Earth once every 90 minutes.

One of them will control the vehicle in the return capsule while the other will move to the orbiting module to observe the Earth and conduct experiments such as germinating seeds and growing human cells during their 119-hour or 5-day stay in orbit.

The space shuttle is scheduled to land in Siziwangqi in the central grass field of Inner Mongolia at 8:00 a.m. on October 17, after rotating the Earth orbit at an altitude of 200-350km for 80 revolutions.

Chinese state-run CCTV broadcasted the live images of the space shuttle during its blast-off.

Yoo-Seong Hwang yshwang@donga.com