China successfully launches Shenzhou VI manned rocket

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Long March 2F
Scale model of Shenzhou spacecraft

BBC News is reporting that the People's Republic of China has successfully launched its second manned space flight, Shenzhou VI.

The mission is more ambitious than the previous Shenzhou V, which made China only the third nation to launch a manned space mission. Shenzhou VI will carry two astronauts, Nie Haisheng and Fei Junlong, compared to the previous mission which only carried a single astronaut, Yang Liwei. The newest astronauts will also stay in orbit longer, five days compared to the 21 hour, 14 orbit flight of Shenzhou V.

The director of the Chinese Space Crew Training program, Chen Shanguang, explained to the media that the country would send a woman to Space within five years. "Women are more patient compared with male astronauts, their psychological qualities are more stable and they face isolation better," according to Chen.