China will launch its first manned space flight sometime in the next three months, according to reports and industry officials. Quoting official sources, the Beijing-backed Wen Wei Po said the highly anticipated launch of the Shenzhou V spacecraft would take place sometime in the next 100 days. China had previously said the flight would take place by the end of the year. An official with the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation confirmed a launch date had been selected but refused to disclose when it would be. 'We are basically waiting for suitable weather conditions,' the official said. News of the launch date follows a successful flight of the unmanned Shenzhou IV spacecraft in January. The capsule landed on a snow-covered plain in Inner Mongolia after completing a 162-hour mission during which it orbited the Earth 108 times and conducted more than 100 tests. For safety reasons, according to the newspaper, a daytime launch is planned for the manned mission. The previous four Shenzhou launches took place at night. The report said the manned space mission would not include any scientific experiments other than to test the flight vehicle. It said the spacecraft would be launched using a Long March Number Two (CZ-2F) rocket. The spacecraft will feature an escape chute which will offer a means of escape for the astronaut if an accident occurs on the launch pad. The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation official said mission planners had not decided which astronaut would make the historic flight. If the mission is successful, China will follow the space programmes of the United States and the former Soviet Union in putting a man into orbit. The programme is reportedly being overseen by the chairman of the Central Military Commission, Jiang Zemin.