China has successfully launched its second manned space mission. It will take the two astronauts on board the Shenzhou VI spacecraft on a five-day orbit around the earth, during which they will conduct various experiments.
The lift-off from a site in the Gobi desert was shown live on state television, causing excitement in a country whose blossoming space programme is the source of much national pride. China launched its first manned space flight two years ago. Eventually it wants to have its own space station and explore the moon.