China's astronauts prepare for spacewalk

BEIJING- China's third manned space mission reached its final orbit early on Friday where astronauts preparing for the country's first spacewalk enjoyed spicy food and the convenience of an onboard toilet.

The Shenzhou VII blasted off from a remote desert site on Thursday on a trip designed to showcase China's technological mastery and crown the success of the Beijing Olympics.

The launch, part of a space program that could eventually lead to a landing on the moon, was watched by millions of Chinese and the event has dominated state media.

The craft is circling at 343 km (213 miles) above the Earth, orbiting every 90 minutes, preparing for what a senior engineer said would be the most challenging part of the mission.


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