Da China Daily del 12/10/2005
Originale su http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2005-10/12/content_484256.htm

Second manned spacecraft successfully takes off

China's piecemeal but ambitious space program took another giant step today, as two Chinese taikonauts blasted into orbit on a state-of the-art Long March rocket on the country's second manned space mission ever.

The Shenzhou VI manned spacecraft blasted off with a loud launch noise for a multi-day orbital stay from its satellite launch center in Jiuquan in northwest China.

China's state-owned Central Television Station is carrying out a live coverage of the spacecraft flight, with images of the two taikonauts clearly shown to tens of millions of Chinese viewers.

Shenzhou VI was lifted into the space by a Long March carrier rocket at 9:00 am Beijing Time. It entered its orbit 21 minutes later.

Fei Junlong, 40, and Nie Haisheng, 41, will make a great deal of experiments during their space journey.

"I feel good," Fei said minutes after blast-off.

"We have the confidence and ability to fulfil this glorious task. Our only wish is to make the mission a complete success," Fei said before boarding the craft. "Life in space is full of mysteries," Nie added.

"There is nothing to worry about," the two was quoted as saying before the launch as a light snow fell. "We will accomplish the mission resolutely. See you in Beijing."

Premier Wen Jiabao hailed the successful launch, reiterating China's policy for peaceful use of space.

Wen said that China develops space technology purely for peaceful purposes and China is willing to cooperate with other nations in the development of space science and technology.

The launch came just a day after the ruling Chinese Communist Party wrapped up a key meeting to map out the development of the world's seventh-largest economy for the next five years.

In the Chinese capital, President Hu Jintao and Vice President Zeng Qinghong watched the lift-off at the Beijing Aerospace Command and Control Center.

China's first man is space was Colonel Yang Liwei, who orbited Earth 14 times in the Shenzhen V craft on October 15, 2003.

China, the third nation to put a man into orbit, insisted ahead of the launch that its aspirations in space were strictly peaceful and that it opposes deploying weapons there. Space officials say they hope to land an unmanned probe on the moon by 2010 and launch a space station.

"We do not wish to see any form of weapons in outer space, so we reaffirm that our space flight program is an important element of mankind's peaceful utilization of outer space," Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said.

However, Washington sees China's space ambitions as an emerging security concern, with the potential for the Asian giant to boost its military capabilities and eventually challenge US dominance in space.

"US concern about China's space capabilities are first that China might eventually develop the ability to attack US satellites, because the US military is heavily dependent on them," said Phillip Saunders of the Pentagon-linked Institute for National Strategic Studies.

"Second, as China space capabilities improve, it will have the ability also to improve its other military options," Saunders told AFP.

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