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Manned Chinese Spacecraft Enters Earth's Orbit

China says a space capsule carrying two Chinese astronauts has entered Earth's orbit after blasting off early Wednesday morning.

State media say the (Shenzhou-6) capsule entered a fixed orbit about 20 minutes after lift off.

In a break with the past, the launch from China's Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the country's northwest province of Gansu was carried live on international television.

The mission, reportedly to last five days, is a more ambitious and riskier mission than China's first manned spaceflight two years ago, which lasted just under 22 hours.

China's state-run Xinhua News Agency says the mission will also mark the first time Chinese astronauts leave their flight module and enter the spacecraft's experiment-filled orbital module.

Besides China, only the United States and Russia have sent manned spacecraft into orbit.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP, Reuters.