Salty prawns add a taste of home

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 October, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 October, 2005, 12:00am

Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng will be spending a lot longer in orbit than China's first man in space, Yang Liwei .

But they will also be more comfortable. Colonel Yang could not take off his space suit during his 21-hour mission, while Mr Fei and Mr Nie will be able to shed the 10kg suits for most of their time in space.

Colonel Yang was restricted to the return module during his flight, but Colonel Fei and Colonel Nie will be able to enter the orbital module to conduct experiments.

The Shenzhou VI crew will also be better fed. Colonel Yang had access only to instant food that did not require heating or water, but the two astronauts on this mission have a choice of 50 kinds of foods including abalone, salty prawn and various fruits.

The also have access to a customised toilet. Improved equipment on the latest flight includes a food heater and sleeping bags.

The Shenzhou VI has been upgraded to be safer, more reliable and more compact. It is designed to make using the newly added scientific research equipment as easy as possible during orbit.

It also boasts a higher-capacity 'black box' recorder to collect data that will be used to analyse the mission.