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Chinese Astronauts Working During Country's Second Manned Mission

Two astronauts on China's second manned space flight are to begin experiments Thursday, to test their capsule's stability in orbit.

China's official news agency says astronauts Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng are to carry out a series of tasks, including moving around inside the craft and changing clothes.

Mr. Nie celebrates his 41st birthday Thursday during the second day in orbit.

The United States has welcomed China's efforts in the peaceful use of space - and on being the third country to carry out manned space flights (after the United States and Russia).

The spacecraft, the Shenzhou 6, successfully blasted into space Wednesday from western China The mission is to last five days. In 2003, China's first manned space flight lasted just under 22 hours.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.