A pool of 14 Chinese astronauts has arrived at a base in northwestern China ahead of the country's first manned space flight.
The pro-Beijing Wen Wei Po newspaper said two instructors Li Jinlong and Wu Jie were among the 14, but it denied reports in Hong Kong that the two would be chosen to orbit the earth in the Shenzhou V spacecraft.
Speculation has mounted over when China plans to launch its first manned space flight, with officials on September 16 saying only that it would take place in the next three months.
However, other space analysts have said the launch could come as soon as October 1st.
Three astronauts could in theory man the space flight, but according to analysts only one or two of the 14 who have undergone a decade of training would be chosen.
Monday, 29 September 2003
Some breaking news from The Australian :