China's astronaut team is to start training in March for the nation's second manned space flight on Shenzhou VI, reported the Beijing Youth Daily on Monday. The 14 astronauts have been resting since Yang Liwei, a member of the team, completed China's first manned space flight in October last year. They have done only light physical training andreviewed flight operations.
The training for Shenzhou VI would be mainly based on the training courses of Shenzhou V, said Huang Weifen, director in charge of selection and training of astronauts in China. However, some changes would be made as two astronauts were expected to fly in Shenzhou VI, the Beijing Youth Daily quoted Huang as saying. The 14 astronauts, including Yang Liwei, will be divided into seven pairs according to their characteristics and cooperation. Three pairs will form a new team for China's second manned space flight and, finally one pair will fly Shenzhou VI. China has made plans to select and train new astronauts as the 14 astronauts are all over 30. The selection would be conducted in two or three years, reports &to=http://news.xinhuanet.com' target=_blank>Xinhuanet.com
&to=http://news.bbc.co.uk' target=_blank>BBC reports that no official launch date has been given but reports suggest it will be sometime next year. China's first manned mission took place in October when astronaut Yang Liwei travelled into space on Shenzhou V, becoming an instant household hero. China was making plans to recruit more astronauts, as all 14 men were over 30 years old. Along with China, only the US and Russia have sent manned spacecraft into orbit. China has also announced plans to land a man on the Moon by 2020.