Hidden Nook

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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

China In Space

[Media Source*]

(Red Nova) China has narrowed the list of astronauts for the country's second manned space mission later this year to six candidates, according to media reports. The space vehicle is to blast off in September or October, carrying two astronauts on a four- or five-day flight. Officials will pick the two astronaut shortly before the flight.

The Beijing Times newspaper quoted Huang Chunping, the chief launch vehicle designer, as saying that the remaining six candidates might include Yang Liwei, who became China's first man in space in October 2003.

Although another nation launching an astronaut into space might seem "cliche" to some people, one must not forget that only three nations have successfully launched their own citizens (as in not relying upon NASA) into space. Russia and the United States were the first two, and China's addition adds more "flavor" to the mix.

Details about what the astronauts activities will be once in space are being closely guarded by the Chinese government, but a relaunch of Yang Liwei, China's first astronaut into space (and practically a celebrity at home) would partially redeem China after he was apparently unable to see the Great Wall from space.

Although other nations such as Japan and more noticeably Europe have entered the space race, no other group of people have been able to launch astronaut's on their own. China probably does not have the economy to fund a trip beyond Earth's orbit (let alone to the moon) but so far it seems to be the only real competition the U.S. has in the space race.

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By Darnell Clayton • 8:29 PM • Email Post • •


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