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State TV begins selling ads for China's manned space flight
BEIJING (AFP) Sep 20, 2005
Despite strict secrecy surrounding the launch date of China's Shenzhou VI manned space flight, state television is already selling advertisements to promote the launch, state press said Tuesday.

China Central Television (CCTV) is offering advertising slots ranging from 2.56 million yuan (316,000 dollars) for five seconds to 8.56 million yuan for 30 seconds, the Beijing Modern Commercial Daily said.

The flight, China's second-ever manned space flight, is scheduled to take place sometime in October although no date has been announced.

Two astronauts are expected to orbit the Earth for five days in a mission markedly different from the Shenzhou V that orbited the Earth 14 times in a 21-hour flight in 2003.

CCTV will broadcast live the Shenzhou VI launch and its return to Earth. The Shenzhou V and the previous four unmanned Shenzhou flights were only shown to the public in a tape-delayed broadcast.

Advertising slots for the flight began airing on September 12, with fees expected to rise for special slots that will run for a 10-day period starting a day before the flight, the paper said.

China's first man in space Yang Liwei, who became a national hero and received rock star treatment after his Shenzhou V flight, announced last week that he would not be on the next mission.

Yang confirmed the mission would take place in mid-October but said he was too involved in the selection and training of 13 other astronauts in line for a seat on the craft to prepare himself.

China is the third country to put a man in space following the former Soviet Union and the United States.

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