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China's space mission blasts off

Moon cakes for breakfast

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China has succesfully launched two astronauts into space, almost exactly two years after it first accomplished the feat.

The astronauts, former fighter pilots Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng, will spend approximately five days in orbit aboard the Shenzhou VI capsule, conducting experiments. According to Chinese media, the capsule is expected to land in Inner Mongolia.

The Shenzhou VI orbiter has two parts: the main body and a reentry capsule. Chinese authorities said the astronauts will move between the two parts during their mission.

Yang Liwei, the first Chinese man in space, was hailed a national hero on his return to Earth. He spent 21 hours in orbit and secured the country's place as the third national to independently launch a successful manned-mission, after Russia and the US.

Unlike Yang Liwei, Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng will have "sufficient or surplus food and water", will be able to eat hot meals, and will have "excrement collecting device ... for the first time".

According to the BBC, state TV in China reported that the astronauts had eaten pineapple-filled moon cakes for their breakfast. Sounds better than most aeroplane meals to us. ®

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