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China delays space walk for six months

Shenzhou VII launch off until 2008

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China's planned space walk mission has been put back by six months and will not now take place until 2008.

The scheduled launch of the Shenzhou VII rocket will be the country's third manned mission, but senior consultant to the country's space programme, Huang Chunping, admitted that "Shenzhou VII was a complicated program that needed careful tests and trials", New Scientist reports.

Specifically, Huang explained that everything hinges on "when researchers can tackle the key problem of the spacesuit".

China's last manned flight was the October 2005 Shenzhou VI mission which carried two astronauts on a five-day orbit. Its maiden manned sucess was back in 2003 when Yang Liwei bacame the Communist state's first astronaut aboard the Shenzhou V - an achievement which marked China's place as the third nation to put a man into space. ®

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