Fri, Dec 24, 2004
Two Taikonauts Will Be On Board
Flushed with success from its first launch earlier this year,
China will send another space flight in September. This time, the
Shenzhou V spacecraft will carry two "taikonauts."
One of them may actually be China's first man in space. Fighter
pilot Yang Liwei is one of 14 candidates now training for the
But you might call him a reluctant astronaut this time
"All things being equal, I would prefer to let other astronauts
go up on Shenzhou VI. That way China would have three astronauts
who will have been into space," he said, quoted by official Chinese
There's no specific word from Beijing on the goals for the
September mission. The taikonauts, however, will most likely stay
inside their capsule, rather than venture out on a spacewalk.
That's planned for the flight of Shenzhou VII, the third Chinese
space flight. Timing for that launch has not been announced.
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