* China's 14 taikonauts have completed five days of intensive zero g training in preparation for the nation's second crewed spaceflight aboard ShenZhou 6, to be launched from Jiuquan in the third quarter of this year. Yang Liwei flew a solo mission aboard ShenZhou 5 in 2003 for 21h, but the next mission will carry two crew for five days. Yang is a candidate for the second mission, which will include working inside the attached laboratory module.

*  NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft has completed its second mid-course manoeuvre, to fine tune its trajectory towards the comet Tempel 1, with which it will rendezvous on 4 July, to deploy a 1m (3ft)-long impactor on a 37,100km/h (23,000mph) trajectory to smash into the comet's nucleus. Instruments on the mothership will monitor and measure the event.

* Russia's Samara-based Progress State Research and Production Space Centre has started production of Soyuz ST rockets for the Soyuz international project, which will operate from the European Space Agency's French Guiana space centre, under a contract signed by the Russian Federal Space Agency and Arianespace in April. The Russian side is responsible for manufacturing, delivering, assembling and testing ground equipment for preparing the launch of the Soyuz-ST carrier rocket, as well as adapting the carrier rocket to conditions in French Guiana. The first test launch is set for 2008.

* Russia's Khrunichev Space Centre is considering using its new Angara medium launch vehicle for manned space missions, Khrunichev chief Alexander Medvedev says.

Source: Flight International