TIM FURNISS / LONDON
China plans to send a second man into space late next year following the successful landing of its first astronaut, army air force Lt Col Yang Liwei after a 14 orbit, 21h 23min flight on 16 October.
His spacecraft, the $120 million Shenzhou 5 - based on the Russian Soyuz - was launched from Jiuquan on 15 October aboard a Long March 2F booster. This followed four unmanned test flights of the 7,600kg (16,740lb) spacecraft since 1999, carrying suites of microgravity and other science experiments.
Yang's craft carried minimal science equipment but is suspected to have carried a high-resolution reconnaissance camera.
China plans eventually to join two Shenzhou spacecraft together to form an initial six-person space station, followed by a larger independent station. It does not plan a space shuttle vehicle.