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Shenzhou-8 to carry bio sample for European Space Agency

CHINA has agreed to carry a bio sample for the European Space Agency on the country's Shenzhou-8 spacecraft, Zhang Jianqi, deputy chief commander of the manned space project, said in Beijing yesterday.

"China is actively gearing up international cooperation in the field of manned space," Zhang told reporters on the sidelines of China's parliament annual session, citing the agreement with Europe as an example.

The country plans to launch the Shenzhou-8 and Shenzhou-9 spacecraft in 2011, a former chief designer of the manned-space project said a day earlier.

Zhang stressed China welcomes and will continue cooperation with other countries in exploring the space, adding the country's space endeavors are always open to the outside.

"China will definitely work with the International Space Station, once the country sets up its own space station," said Zhang, a deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature.

He said it's necessary for astronauts to be able to offer mutual aid in case of emergency during their relatively long stay in the space.

"The Unites States and other countries have agreed to this and said they are willing to start such cooperation," he added.

Zhang said Thursday the country is selecting taikonauts for the country's planned first space station.


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